We've been going back to Brett's 四面楚歌 post a lot, so I figured, while it was still fresh, we could add this Yo-ji to the mix. The two are used in conjunction so often, that they reference each other in my dictionary.
I was confused by today's entry when I first heard it, because it was explained to me as 「一人で頑張っていること: Doing your best, by yourself.」 I figured "That can't be a bad thing, right?" Chalk up another mistake to the hazards of Japanese contextuality.
1. A lonely, difficult struggle
2. Fighting alone
3. Up shit creek without a paddle (This might be a stretch but it captures the desperate situation and the absence of all help)
Explanation of today's picture: This was last year's Puerto Rican team at Nanayama's Annual Waterfall Climb, an event that requires lots and lots of help from your community . Jose looks like he's got a long, lonely battle ahead of him.
孤軍奮闘 differs from 四面楚歌 in that it doesn't require that you be under attack from any specific enemies. You don't have to be in hostile waters, you just have to be in trouble, with no one to help you out.
I also wanted to post it because, I feel like I'm in a situation now where I might be able to use it appropriately.
See, my water heater broke. That means no hot showers and no hot water in the sink, and while I can put up with that for a few days, I really don't want to live like that. The water heater was 20 years old, incidentally, so it's not like it broke because of gross misuse or anything. It just broke. In America, if something like this happens, it's usually the landlord's responsibility to take care of, right? But when I contacted my landlord and the propane company, they consulted the Board of Education (who leases my apartment), and came back to me with this:
"The Board of Ed says that you only have four months left on your contract, after which they will no longer be leasing the apartment. Therefore, they do not feel that it is worthwhile to pay to have the water heater replaced."
Today we had a meeting of all the major players, and while I sat and listened, the landlord, whose concern is that the apartment remains in good condition so he can find a new tenant, and the BOE, whose concern is not paying any more money than they absolutely have to, agreed that the best course of action was to buy a new cover for the water heater so that it looks new, and new tenants will not be wary of it.
As they were finalizing things in their conversations, I had to remind them that I still did not want to spend the next four months without hot water. They said "Oh, well, we can also talk to the propane company about repairing the inside (as opposed to replacing it, which the propane company maintains is the only solution). We'll call you tomorrow."
So while neither the BOE or my landlord is my enemy, they definitely don't seem to be on my side, and they're certainly not trying to help me out. IF it gets fixed, it will get fixed because I persist in complaining, and demanding that they fix it. I'm even prepared to do and say desperate things to show them the error of their ways. If they don't have to take care of me because I'm only here for four more months, then I guess it's okay if I don't honor my end of the contract either. I could protest by coming to school all summer without showering, or telling teachers that I'm too busy to come to lessons when they ask me.
I would not describe taking such actions by saying 「一人で頑張っています.」 I would say「孤軍奮闘している.」
Today's example sentence was inspired by a google image search for 孤軍奮闘： Since it's one of my favorite movie franchises, I knew I had to use it.
The next question is Movie Trivia: Name the desperate super-spy who fights a lone war against the likes of enemies such as the CIA and the Russian Mafia. If you don't know who he is, that's okay. He doesn't know either.