The Daily Yoji is serious business. Or rather, Yoji jukugos themselves are pretty serious business. They can be profound, apt, or just plain cool, but not many earn the title "funny" before we get our editorial mitts all over them. My goal this time was to try and find one that evoked some humor outside of our example sentences, and I hopefully have it here. Even better - it becomes educational by the end.
As per the recent stylings of my rapping cohort, Nirav, the Mehtahuman Indian whose bowels operate like a furnace that can only be stoked by foods rating 2,000,000 Scovilles or higher, I'm gonna break this badboy down.
垂 can be found in 垂れる (たれる), ie to drip, hang, sag, trail, etc. It honestly (and sadly) took me some digging to find that word, so remember it, because I know I will.
涎 is where things get fun. I had to look this one up, too, and found よだれ - drool. The two together give you すいぜん, or "watering at the mouth," used in the same way it's found in English.
三 is 3, of course, and 尺 is our educational bit. But we'll tackle that after the:
1. Drooling over something.
2. A pressing desire.
The part that makes this phrase a bit funnier is the 三尺. A long time ago, Nirav touched on the fact that Japan has a non-metric system of measurement it... er, appropriated from China. Though it's not nearly as prevalent as America's "let's all just make up units of measurement and see how it works out" system, it exists in tiny little aspects of Japanese life. 四字熟語 are one such area, where the post linked at the beginning of this paragraph and Jeff's 悪事千里 both contain 里. I remember Nirav explaining the り reading of 里 to me a long, long time ago, when I only read it as さと, ie village. One could say I've come 千里 since then.
Anyway, aside from old-school idioms, you'll also catch the 尺貫法 (しゃっかんほう) in farming, carpentry, and real estate. The former two employ the system for tools and land, while the latter is one of the most common ways people express "square-feet" of a home - 坪, or つぼ, which is about the area of two standard tatami mats. Figuring out how big your house is becomes a piece of cake if it's covered with tatami.
Anyway, touching back on the yoji, the full literal translation comes out to "three feet of drool". Don't say I never gave you anything.
Tagging off to Nirav for the...
I don't know if he was after the models or the games, but either way, Brett was drooling all over the Tokyo Game Show.
PS. I actually had this all up and ready to go on Wednesday night...when I did a last Google of the phrase and scrolled down to find almost exclusively Chinese sites. Whoops. But there ARE over a thousand hits for Japanese websites, albeit mostly explanatory ones. So count this as a rare one.