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Monday, June 2, 2008

表現Break: 馬の耳に念仏

うま の みみ に ねんぶつ
uma no mimi ni nenbutsu

More stuff that goes in ears! I saw this one on a bangumi trivia quiz last night, and it was one of the questions that they gave to the NOT-so-smart Talento who were hanging around in last place, so if they oughta know it, we should too.

Definition:
いくら言っても全く聞く耳を持たない、効果がないこと
Translations:
1. Like talking to a wall
2. In one ear and out the other

It translates literally as: a buddhist prayer in a horse's ear, so unless you're talking about this horse, you can see how the phrase gains it's meaning of speaking/giving commands to an unreceptive audience.

You can use this phrase in any situation where the person or people you're talking to are not listening or understanding, and if you're a school teacher, I'd reccommend saying it ABOUT your students, rather than to your students as younger Japanese people won't necessarily know the expression you're referencing.

例文:毎日生徒たちに「授業中に喋るな!」と言っているけど、何か、馬の耳に念仏だ。
Everyday we tell the kids not to chat during class, but man, it's like talking to a wall.

Today's picture comes from The White Horse Temple in Luoyang, China: the first buddhist temple on Chinese soil, known as the cradle of Chinese Buddhism. It's so named because, according to legend, a white horse bore the first Buddhist scriptures to China from India. So maybe horses aren't as un-receptive to Buddhism as the Japanese suppose.

5 comments:

Claytonian said...

僕の猫にゃんね、しゃべるときにはね、日本語で言わなかったら、馬の耳に念仏ですよ。うふ。

The thing about my kitty-witty, right, is that when you talk, right, if you don't talk in Japanese he won't pay attention. *giggle*

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lisze said...

Saw this site on Hopeless Romantic and got interested. Forgive my rotten Jnese, please.


私は妹に「あなたの彼は悪い人、よ!」と言ったら、馬の耳に念仏でした。

I told my sister that her boyfriend sucked, but didn't hear a word I said.

Or something like that.

Claytonian said...

Hey Jeff

Nirav said...

彼は大の酒豪だから、いくらアルコール中毒の怖さを説いても結局馬の耳に念仏だろう。

He's such a heavy drinker that it probably won't do any good no matter how much you explain the dangers of alcoholism.