This is the first in a series of Body Part Idioms. Listen to the idiom and then study the example sentence.
Two idoms using the hand
use one's discretion; pull one’s punches; take it easy on someone
aitsu ga sotsugyoushiken ni goukaku suru nante, sensei ga tegokoro o kuwaeta ni chigainai.
For that bonehead to have passed his graduation exam, the teachers must have looked the other way.
あいつ aitsu—that guy (slang)
卒業試験 sotsugyou shiken—graduation test
合格 goukaku—passing (a test); success
なんて nante—such as… (exclamation)
手心 tegokoro—discretion; consideration
加える kuwaeru—to append; to add; to increase
～に違いない ~ni chigainai—without doubt
even if it means living in poverty
tenabe sagetemo, anata to kekkon shitai
Even if it means living in the humblest of cottages (with only a pot and a pan), I want to marry you.
手鍋 te nabe—a pan with a handle
さげても sagetemo—even if (we are) reduced to… [下げる]
あなたと anata to—with you
したい shitai—want to (marry)
Japanese is a language full of fun idioms. Let's explore a few Body Part Idioms using the Hand.
These two idioms are perhaps the most useful 'hand' idioms in Japanese.
Listen to the idiom and then study the example sentence.
to have one's hands full; be up to here (with something); busy
te ga ippai de, ima wa nani mo dekimasen.
My hands are full; I can’t do anything right now.
いっぱい ippai—full; lots
なにも nani mo—nothing [ends with negative verb (dekimasen)]
できません dekimasen—can’t do (anything)
to obtain; get; come by...
naganen hoshikatta anti-ku hin o te ni ireta.
I got my hands on an antique that I’ve wanted for years.
長年 naganen—a long time; many years
アンティーク品 anti-ku hin—an antique object
入れた ireta—put something into something
Then you can say you were given “ki de hana wo kukutta youna kotae.”
This idiom is not widely used in Japan anymore, however it is a fun body-part idiom with an interesting history.
Other info (etymology 語源, more examples, usage notes)
Tie your nose with a tree...
This is used when someone's curt reply was very cold to you. You've already learned that's what it means, but how can a tree tie your nose? A tree is way too hard... Maybe with softer wood, but it still does not make sense.
This idiom originally was "kokuru the nose with a tree." kokuru means to "to rub." Another rarely used word in modern Japanese. This was misused and changed to kukuru. That corruption of kokuru started the drift from the original meaning.
It seems when Japanese blew their nose long time ago, because the paper was very expensive, they rubbed their noses with wood. The facial expression looked very blunt from the rough wood fibers. Hence, this idiom came about..