[Japanese Idioms by Flashcards]


sesame grinding

(ingratiating oneself, apple-polishing, overtly flattering, toadying, sucking up to one’s supertiors)

When a person makes on overtly ingratiating remark, he or she is “grinding sesame seeds.” Others call attention to the gomasuri either by saying the word, by (nonverbally) making motions with the fist over the palm of the other hand (simulating the grinding of roasted sesame seeds with a pestle and mortar), or by doing both. Like the messy sesame seeds ground up in the mortar, the person seeking favor is sticking to everything (one).

Sample text:
(Style: spoken/formal/male)

A: Katoo-san iyoiyo kakarichoo ni shooshin rashii desu yo.
B: Yappari soo desu ka. Koko sonnen kan zutto gomasuri o yatte kita n da kara, sorosoro kakarichoo ni now daroo to wa omottemashita kedo ne.


A: I hear Mr. Kato is finally going to be promoted to section chief.
B: Just as I thought. I was thinking he would make section chief soon since he’s been apple-polishing for the past three years.

Japanese Idioms

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