Thursday, January 22 2009

“Don’t bend your belly-button!”

Tuesday night, I managed to scrape together enough time to finish the novel I’ve been reading in Japanese. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, not so much in how the kids defeated the evil witch as in why it worked. But that’s a blog entry for another day.

Tonight, I’m going back through it, looking for the words and phrases that I didn’t find in my pocket dictionary (aka, “DS Lite running Kanji Sonomama”). Some of it I still can’t find (particularly mimetic expressions), but there are some fun ones.

First up, 「へそを曲げる」, which JMdict translates as “to get angry; to become perverse”, but it literally means “to bend your belly-button”. The impudent young warlock who says “heso o mageru na yo, baachan” to the cranky old witch clearly means “calm down, granny”, but since the thing she’s upset about is his lack of respect, it doesn’t really work.