I love learning a phrase in conversation, then looking it up later and finding out that it's actually a 四字熟語. I picked up 反面教師 and 中途半端 this way, and now I've got one more to add to my list!
Today's yoji is one that, if you're like me (in the financial sense) you'd rather hear and recognize than use yourself.
1. Treating many people to a lavish feast
2. Being an extremely generous host (giving presents, wining and dining, etc)
3. The spoils of unlimited generosity
4. "It's on me!"
I'm anticipating arguments from some of you about whether or not this classifies as a yoji, because it can also be written 「大盤振る舞い」 which clearly has six characters and not all of them are kanji. But I did my research on this one, hard.
The yoji has it's origins in the Heian Period, when it was used for ceremonies of the Imperial Court, and it was originally written 「椀飯振舞」. As you can see from the kanji, it meant the behavior and conduct associated with serving food. But, in the minds of the regular citizens of Japan, the behavior and conduct associated with serving food for the Imperial Court was something far removed and grandiose. It meant luxury and elegance and enjoying the trappings of wealth, so they started to use it to refer to their bigger meals (New Year's feasts, and the like), anything that they felt was lavish enough to be worthy of the title. And the common people, as common people will, got the words all mixed up and confused, and ended up with some 当て字, giving us the two common usages today: 大盤振舞 and 大盤振る舞い, both read and pronounced exactly the same way (as introduced above).
A Google search for either term will yield max results, so I'm confident in classifying this as a yoji.
To describe someone who is being the generous host, you can attach する, and to describe being on the other end, される will work. You can also say ｢大盤振舞の」 and follow it up with pretty much anything you want. 料理、キャンペーン、etc. It's used a lot in advertising to make the offers or the products sound more luxurious.
So what does all of that have to do with a giant red fish, you ask?
Glad you asked! That giant red fish is the 鯛ヤマ, one of fourteen ヤマ, or floats, used in my all time FAVORITE 祭り in Japan, Karatsu Kunchi ( 唐津くんち）. The floats, the oldest of which are more than 200 years, are awesome to behold as troops of men (or males, I should say, because little boys help carry the rope as well) haul them through town. But the best part of Karatsu Kunchi is, you guessed it, the 大盤振舞. Homeowners and store owners all over Karatsu open their doors to family and friends, and ANYBODY else who happens to come along. You can drift from place to place getting free drinks, free food, and meeting all kinds of crazy drunk people.
For those of you who are in Japan, or coming to Japan at some point, you've gotta hit Karatsu in early November. I've been to countless festivals in Japan, and this is by far, the most fun.
Karatsu Kunchi is an entire weekend of limitless, lavish feasting. If you're ever in Karatsu, found in Saga-Ken on the island of Kyushu, please come check it out. But don't be mistaken. You can be wined and dined, but you can't sit around waiting for an invitation. Be pro-active about entering homes and shops. You'll definitely have a good time!