Mimi ga itai

[Japanese Idioms by Flashcards]


My ears hurt.

(an acknowledgment that someone’s criticism of oneself is correct; an indication of a prick of conscience, as if saying “you found me out.”)

Some say that, despite Japan’s economic might, its people are pretty simple. To say “my ears hurt,” when words of criticism are hurled one’s way, is direct and disarming. It’s a way of saying “you got me.” Implicit in the phrase is the recognition of wrongdoing.

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

A: Isogashii, isogashii tte iinagara, muda banashi bakari shiteiru kara shigoto ga zenzen susumanai n da yo.
B: Iyaa, sono toori. Mimi ga itai na.

A: 忙しい、忙しいって言いながら、むだ話ばかりしているから仕事が全然すすまないんだよ。
B: いやあ、その通り。耳が痛いな。

A: You say you’re busy, but you waste your time chit chatting. That’s why you can’t get your work done.
B: You’re right. You got me!

Japanese Idioms

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