Back this week, with what we hope will be a full week of posts. What with Golden Week coming up, we're gonna try to get our study licks in now, before the beach and the road start calling. So, at least for the yo-jis, lets try to go with numbers this week.
The kanji here are easy enough. 四角 is the Japanese word for a rectangle. I'm not clear on the exact definitions, but it means "four angles." 正方形 （せいほうけい; seihoukei) is the term for something that is geometrically perfectly square, and 長方形 (ちょうほうけい;
chouhoukei) is the one for a rectangle. The way I figure it, they're both 四角.
四面, which shows up in THIS other famous 四字熟語, means "four sides," which, in many cases, is ALL sides.
For today's purposes, something with four sides and four angles is, well...
2. Overly formal.
3. Serious/Dilligent/Straight-laced to the point of being inflexible.
The wording of the definition is worth noting: 融通がきかない: inflexible. I've been stuck for too long with 気楽 to mean "easy-going" when often I've wanted to say 融通が利く, to be flexible.
Today's post reminds me of 杓子定規.
If your way of thinking is too rigid, you're guaranteed to come into conflict with the opinions of those around you.