March 1, 2024

Body Idioms Part I

There are many expressions which use body parts in Japanese. Let’s take a look at a few of them.


This phrase literally translates to "one's nose is high." However, it's not a reference to the story of Pinocchio, where a long nose indicates lies. Instead, this idiom is a positive feeling of being proud.

When someone is proud, that person might lift his or her head, inadvertently causing their nose to point upwards. This physical gesture is recognized as a sign of pride or satisfaction.

The phrase can be compared to the English expression "to hold one's head up high" which signifies pride or confidence. But don't confuse it with "to look down one's nose at" which can denote a sense of superiority or disdain.

(はな))(たか)い means “to be proud of” or "to take pride in"

For example, when you get a good grade on your test:


My grade on the test was excellent and I’m proud of myself.


And even if it isn’t about yourself, you can feel pride. Like, if you have a younger brother who is good at sports:


My brother is an all-around sports player and I’m proud of him.


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This literally means “one’s face is large”. But it doesn’t actually mean having a big face.

You might use this expression to describe someone who is sociable, well-connected, and possesses good networking skills. It's akin to the English expression "having a wide circle of acquaintances" or being "well-connected."

Thus, (かお)(ひろ)い is used to describe someone who "knows many people" or "has many connections" across various fields and social groups. It is generally considered a compliment, reflecting the person's sociability, influence, and ability to maintain a broad range of relationships.

(かお))(ひろ)い means “to know many people” or "be well-connected."


Tanaka-san knows a lot of people and he is always being greeted everywhere he goes.


This might suggest he's sociable, but being (かお)(ひろ)い (well-connected) and 社交的(しゃこうてき) (sociable) are distinct concepts.

A sociable person might not have a wide circle of friends or acquaintances, whereas someone (かお)(ひろ)い knows many people, often from casual work interactions. This term applies even if these connections are superficial.

For example, if someone has numerous friends on online social networks, they could be considered (かお)(ひろ)い.

Conversely, 社交的(しゃこうてき) refers to an outgoing and communicative individual. It's less about the number of connections and more about the person's social behavior and temperament.


Here is an example sentence with 社交的(しゃこうてき):


She is very sociable and can make friends easily at any party.


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