Neko mo Shakushi mo

[Japanese Idioms by Flashcards]


even cats and rice ladles

(everybody and his/her mother [brother])

According to one folk etymology, the rice ladle symbolizes housewives; since cats and housewives are virtually universal to Japanese households, the expression means “everybody.” An opposite interpretation holds cats to be rare and rice ladles to be universal, so that the expression is all-inclusive of both rare and abundant items.

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

A: Saikin mata sukaato take ga sukoshi mijikaku natta yoo ne.
B: Soo na no yo. Korede mata, neko mo shakushi mo mijikai sukaato ni naru n desho. Kosei ga nakute iya ni naru wa ne, mattaku.

A: 最近またスカートたけが少し短くなったようね。
B: そうなのよ。これで又、猫も杓子も短いスカートになるん ないでしょ。個性こせいがなくていやになるわね、全く。

A: It seems skirt lengths have shortened recently.
B: You noticed, too? Now everybody and her mother 
will be wearing shorter skirts. There’s absolutely no individual style- I hate it!

Japanese Idioms

Write a Comment