rire jaune

roquet

New Member
UK English
"J'espère que le Japon te sourit et que vous ne riez pas jaune."

Does this phrase mean: "I hope [the move to] Japan is working out well and you're not just putting a brave face on things."
 
  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Welcome to the forum, roquet.
    Google "rire jaune"; there are several explanations of the expression in the first few hits.
     

    roquet

    New Member
    UK English
    I did Google it before and got things like "hollow laugh", "forced laugh" which don't work in the context of that sentence.

    I also searched this forum.

    Can someone just confirm my translation is more or less correct?
     

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    I only know rire jaune to be "hollow laugh", "forced laugh" (as you said), so I don't know if your translation is correct.
     

    roquet

    New Member
    UK English
    The sad thing is that the pun with jaune (lemon face - sorry for being NPC) and Japan is lost - though the joke was the only purpose of the sentence...

    OK, I get it now. I haven't heard of lemon face but I guess it's like yellow peril. Thanks, it all makes sense now. Nice little joke, if a bit unPC.
     

    L'Albatros

    New Member
    France, francais
    You are all right. Actually, "rire jaune" means forced laugh. This expression, dating from the XVIIe century, was probably initiated by Saint Simon. Yellow descibes the skin's color of people prensenting an hepatic disturbance. The unpleasantlness caused by this illness stops the deasesed from laugh truly.

    Anyway, this expression is used in the previous sentence in order to archieve a light playword. Even if it could be understood as discriminatory, this playword is just a light joke without ulterior motive or insinuation. French people like play with words just for fun! :)
     

    Maped40

    Senior Member
    French - France
    I think there's another pun with "le Japon te sourit", because "Le Pays du Sourire" is a famous operetta about China and the phrase is commonly used to refer to such countries as Thaïland or Vietnam.
    You should definitely try to convey those allusions, but I have no idea how!
     
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