bigstock_Runners_Feet_713234Ladies and gentleman, loyal readers of the Mango Blog, raving fans of Data Management, passionate people of goodwill, and fellow hopeful-to-become gurus of Microsoft Excel, thank you for visiting our blog today!

I’ve chosen to share the story of how I came across one of the greatest discoveries in recent medical history with you today:  laughing knees!

After years of studying Japanese and living there I was very comfortable with reading, writing, listening and speaking Japanese, or so I thought when one morning….

I was getting a ride to work with the vice-principal at the local school that I would be teaching at that day and he was telling me about the field trip he went on with the children recently.  They had climbed one of the mountains on the Kumano Kodo,  recently declared a world heritage site.  In making polite early morning conversation, he asked me if I had ever hiked “Magose-Toge”, the mountain pass they used to climb up Mt. Tengura.

I told him I had hiked the mountain probably a good 20 times or so because I enjoyed the hike and also that I used to live at the base of that mountain for about 3 years.

He proceeded to tell me how he had enjoyed the first 30 minutes of the hike, but after that “…it was hot, humid, and my knees started laughing.”

My wife was playing a dirty trick on me for not being a good husband the night before and switched my regular coffee with decaf is what I thought to myself and sipped the coffee in my mug and I did my best to try to forget what I thought I had just heard.
“Then as we headed to the top they were laughing even more, but the whole hike down my knees never stopped laughing.”
I told myself that this is what happens when you dream in foreign language, sometimes funny things are said and who knows, maybe Hello Kitty will jump in the middle of the street and hand you a million dollars, so I pinched myself.

It hurt.

I decided that this was probably another verb in Japanese that sounds the same as “laugh” so I asked him: “Your knees were laughing? Laughing as in Laugh?” (I was clarifying that the character in written Japanese that means to laugh, as in being amused, was the same as he was using verbally.)

“Oh yes, they laugh all the time, and the math teacher, his knees laugh all the time too.”

Folks, I need to pause here to let you know that at that point in the car, even having one of the most dazzling intellects known to Mango Languages (picture everyone on staff here collectively rolling their eyes), I was bewildered.

“Drew, you run a lot, do your knees laugh?”

Dead silence for a good 10 seconds while I was thinking about this.

He got the best answer I could come up with: “My knees can’t laugh.”

He roared into laughter, looked at me and smiled while he said “Ah, how great it is to be young!  Feeling like your body will last forever.”

At this point in time something started to click in the back of my fertile mind (my wife says if this happens once a year, it’s a miracle) and at the same time I think he realized that I didn’t understand what suffering from “laughing knees” meant and explained.   We both laughed for a good 5 minutes at how funny our conversation was, especially when you consider that knees can’t laugh, or can they?

For our wonderful readers, to be perfectly clear, when your knees “laugh” it means they are hurting, painful, or throbbing.
Upon further thought would “laughing” knees be any more farfetched then a nose that is “running?”   What if your feet “smell?” Rumor has it that if your nose is running and your feet smell then you must be standing on your head! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)
What do you think?  If anyone has any great examples to share from English or other languages please share below so we can all enjoy.

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8 Responses to Do Your Knees Laugh?

  1. Drew says:

    For the record, my knees DO laugh :0

  2. Knee’s laugh at my incredibly witty and hilarious jokes all the time! Think of it this way, When you hear a crack or a pop coming from a knee understand that this particular knee is busting out in laughter in reaction to a Colpaert joke.

    In conclusion, I do agree that knee’s can laugh. But only for the reason I provided above ;)

  3. Kelly says:

    So is this just an unknown idiom or is there a particular reason why they say your knees laugh?

    English has an idiom about feet – “My dogs are barking,” (My feet are hurting). Apparently this is how Hush Puppies (the footwear) get their name…to quiet your barking dogs.

  4. Drew says:

    @ Kelly

    I believe (but don’t remember for sure) the reason why they say this the shaking in one’s “laughing knees” is similar (supposedly) to the shaking in one’s belly when actually laughing.

    However, that is pure speculation because I can’t remember for sure, and, a search (in Japanese) didn’t elaborate on the origin of the idiom.

    Great examples of idioms relating to feet!
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Drew says:

    @ Ryan C

    “Knee’s laugh at my incredibly witty and hilarious jokes all the time!….”

    I think that is an example of what we call an “oxymoron”, I was actually fishing for examples of “idioms”……

    (Was that too tongue in cheek?!)


  6. Lilia Mouma says:

    This was hilarious reading, Drew! Me too, I was trying to figure out why they decided to say that knees laugh when they actually hurt and came to the conclusion that it is the same as shaking when you laugh. But still, to connect shaking and laughter and hurting just shows positive attitude, which most probably comes from the fact that Japanese love hiking. Pure speculations though. Idioms and their origin are so interesting. As for a contribution, nothing as exciting as yours, but in Greek when we have “pins and needles” in our arm or leg, we use a verb meaning more or less that ants run up and down the numbed part of the body. By the way, noses run in Italian (drip, actually), French, German, Greek, and other languages, I guess. But I’ll stop here before you call me kill-joy.

  7. Drew says:

    @ Lilia

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post :)

    That’s funny you say “pins and needles” in Greek, because we say that in English too~

    Who would of ever guessed that noses can run in so many languages?!?



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