I've gotten in the bad habit of including things in posts that I want to write full posts on, at a later time. I mentioned today's expression in the body of one of last week's yo-jis, but I wanted to give it it's own space as well. Promise this'll be the last time.
いど ばた かいぎ
ido bata kaigi
2. Idle chatter.
3. Water-cooler gossip.
While the Japanese definition above specifies that 井戸端会議 is used in reference to housewives, I left that out of the translations because you could probably use it about gossipy men as well, or for any conversations that could be considered nothing but "rumor factories." Speaking of which, the word 噂 (うわさ; uwasa), also from the Japanese definition, is a great word word to know and use.
"Water-cooler gossip", or even "water-cooler conversation" is my modern interpretation of something that literally means "the meeting at the side of the well," and I'm not sure how well it holds up as a translation, because my American idea of water-cooler chat is more about last night's TV shows than 噂、let alone 人の悪口. Also, I don't know if American office conventions are the same as Japanese ones. In my school office we had a tea room, with a hot water dispenser instead of a water cooler. Hot tea all summer long. And hanging around in the tea room wasn't really encouraged.
"Well-side meetings", on the other hand, seems to come originate from a history of communities that had common kitchens, or at the least, communal water sources, where the women-folk had a chance to gather and talk women-talk.
I'll take this opportunity to remind you of an old 四字熟語 post, because when they say 悪事千里, one of the ways that bad news travels is by way of 井戸端会議.
Also, I enjoy checking out sites that feature cool or interesting bento lunches, and I found this picture of an 井戸端会議 bento! If you're into this kind of stuff, here are two of the sites that I like: