Mizu Shoobai

[Japanese Idioms by Flashcards]


water business

(entertainment business, a chancy trade)

Running water is not thought of as having a fixed rate of flow. Sometimes the water comes out strong, sometimes weak. Such is the “fluid” nature of the income levels for certain businesses. Mizu shoobai includes a variety of entertainment businesses-tea houses, entertainment spots, bars, massage parlors, and houses of prostitution. According to another etymological source, these businesses were situated along riverbanks, and thus the “water business.”

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

A: Mori-san no musukosan ne, kekkon shitai rashii kedo goryooshin ga hantai shiteru te uwasa nee.
B: Soo na no yo. Nanishiro, aite ga mizu shoobai no de 
rashii no yo.

A: もりさんの息子さんね、結婚したいらしいけどご両親が反対してるってうわさねえ。
B: そうなのよ。なにしろ、相手が水商売みずしょうばいの出らしいのよ。

A: Mrs. Mori’s son. It appears he wants to get married, but both parents are against it.
B: That’s right. I hear that the bride-to-be is from the 
entertainment business.

Japanese Idioms

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