I’m so not there right now

「それどころじゃない」 is one of those strange phrases whose meaning isn’t obvious by the words themselves. I guess those things are called idioms, a word that looks suspiciously similar to “idiot” as in “only an idiot wouldn’t know what it meant”. Well excuse me but we’re not all native speakers, you know.

In any case, I thought of this expression when I contemplated updating my blog. My life is rather hectic right now so updating my blog is the least of my concerns. So here I am, in the ultimate of ironies, updating my blog to talk about a phrase that perfectly expresses how I can’t update my blog.

You: 最近、ブログを更新してないね。
Me: それどころじゃないんだよ!

However, I will post all your submissions for September’s Blog Matsuri sometime near the end of this week. There’s still time to write and submit something to me! Just email me at taekim.japanese AT gmail.com

9 thoughts on “I’m so not there right now

  1. One thing about idioms is a speaker’s usually not even aware of them, unless that speaker is really into studying languages. A Japanese person was lamenting to me about how many idioms there are in English, so I pointed out some idiomatic things in Japanese and it kind of opened her eyes. Since she grew up with them, it never occurred to her they were idiomatic!

  2. Even I don’t remember where or how I learned a lot of those idioms so I think I would be similarly surprised. One I do remember learning a LOOONG time ago was 赤の他人.

    Still, I think English has way too many idioms. Gimme a break! (there’s one)

    But then again, Japanese (and Chinese/Korean) has 四字熟語 so maybe it’s even and we’re all screwed.

  3. Thinking idioms were the key to fluency, I once bought a dictionary on Japanese ones. After an hour, my head hurt, and I realised the book went on. And on.
    Half of the idioms in English don’t make sense to me, so I think it was wishful thinking to imagine I would understand any Japanese ones..

  4. @rmntc
    The title was a hint but it’s used when you’re hands are so full (another idiom) that there’s no way you’re going to be able to do the action in question.

    The general pattern is Verb+どころじゃない

  5. Nice! I’m always on the lookout for idioms, just to know what they mean since I probably can’t use them properly just yet without embarrassing myself. I’m into onomatopoeia lately, too. Some of my new favorites: sakusaku = crunch crunch, and doki doki for a thumping heart.

  6. English has more idioms than stars in the sky! I’m always breaking my back attempting to squeeze a good explanation out of the old grey matter for my nihonjin language exchange partner. Yesterday it was like he was shooting fish in a barrel when he was pointing them out to me while I was jabbering on about something or other that caught my eye that day. Whenever an English learner says ‘Please speak in natural English’ I know I’m in for a rough ride.

    (Was that too obvious a point?) ^^

    Personally I always find 四字熟語 interesting (no matter how much Japanese people seem to think I shouldn’t learn them!)

    Thanks for the short and sweet blog entry >_<

  7. Yeath Elliott, I always find 四字熟語 interesting, too. The could times when I’ve managed to use them correctly in conversations with Japanese people they’ve always freaked out, shocked that this 外人 would know something like that. In some ways, grammatically it’s easier to use them because you don’t have to use grammar you might not be comfortable with. In Japanese I could probably say “Well, there are all different kinds of people” but it’s much simpler and much more poetic (to me) to just to say “十人十色”.

    If you’re studying a language, do you find it useful to memorize things like 雀の涙? (sparrow’s tear=a very small amount) For me, they’re usually much easier to memorize than “regular vocab”, but sometimes I have to kind of strech a conversation to make them useful.

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