Nihongo no Kokoro Part 120

Nezumini hikarenaide

ねずみにひかれないで

This is apparently a parting expression asking someone who is about to be left behind on their own to take caution. First time I heard this, I thought I was being told to not to get run over by mice, which obviously made zero sense, even within context. Turns out, it’s a quip that means to take care not to get squirreled away by mice.

It’s a pretty dated saying and looking into it, I found that it was inspired by the tendency of mice to steal precious food when people get careless. So, what I was being told was to not let my precious self get kidnapped by hungry mice.

I’ve been teaching for over 20 years now and it amazes me that there are still so many words and expression I have never even heard of. It’s made me realize with renewed clarity that we never actually stop learning new things for as long as we’re alive.

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