Suzume no Namida

[Japanese Idioms by Flashcards]


sparrow’s tears

(very small amount, a tad)

The implication of this expression is “not enough” -one wishes it were more. If sparrows could cry, their tears would be tiny. Sparrows are commonly found throughout Japan and often represent ordinary people in Japanese folktales.

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

A: Kyuuryoo agatta n da tte?
B: Iya, honno sukoshi.
A: Sonna koto nai daroo.
B: Agatta koto wa agatta kedo sa, honno suzume no namida de nee.

A: 給料上がったんだって?
B: いや、ほんの少し。
A: そんなことないだろう。
B: 上がったんことは上がったけどさ、ほんの雀の涙でねえ。

A: I hear you got a pay raise. Is it true?
B: Well…just a little.
A: You expect me to believe that?
B: OK, I got a pay raise, but it’s such a small amount.

Japanese Idioms

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