I was having a conversation with my friend who has been toying with the idea of living in Tokyo, and I said:

It's all very well going all starry-eyed about life in Tokyo, but you'll land back on your feet once the novelty wears off. Tokyo was the first city in Japan where my girlfriend lived, and she's had her fair share of hectic days there before moving to Kyoto. She says Tokyo is "a place to visit" – and yes, those are air quotes.

In English, the word "starry-eyed", referring metaphorically to one's eyes sparkling like stars, is always used pejoratively to express the idea of someone being given to naive optimism instead of exercising cautious optimism – hinting that they will realise sooner or later that reality isn’t all it's cracked up to be.

In French, I'd probably have said something like the following, though I'm not sure the pejorative sense is carried over into this French phrasing and all that:

Voir la vie à Tôkyô à travers des lunettes roses, c'est bien joli tout ça, mais ...

How do French speakers commonly express this idea?

2 Answers 2


Le presque mot-à-mot français est usuel : "Avoir des étoiles dans les yeux" Il signifie identiquement. Évidemment, la notion de déception future n'est, pas plus qu'en anglais, présente dans cette expression. La suggestion proposée par jlliagre ("tout nouveau tout beau") n'est pas inappropriée non plus mais elle porte, elle, un à priori de déception future.

Relativement à l'exemple proposé, la traduction donnerait : "C'est bien gentil de voir la vie à Tokyo avec des étoiles dans les yeux mais..."

  • Avoir des étoiles plein les yeux.
    – Quidam
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 17:17

A French expression that might fit here is tout nouveau, tout beau.

TLFi :

Quand nous nous sommes retrouvés il y a cinq mois tu ne m'as pas déçu, au contraire : tout nouveau, tout, beau. Mais ensuite je t'ai connu, et il a fallu déchanter. Montherlant, Fils de personne

This expression is a proverb and might be used this way in your text:

Quand on arrive à Tokyo, c'est « tout nouveau, tout beau », mais une fois l'éblouissement passé, on reviens vite à la réalité ...

I initially ruled out and avoided to suggest avoir des étoiles plein les yeux, later answered by aCOSwt in a variant, because des étoiles pleins les yeux is almost always used in a positive way (being amazed, enchanted) while you say "starry-eyed" always carry a negative side.

Anyway, this expression might also definitely be used here:

Quand on arrive à Tokyo, on a des étoiles plein les yeux, mais une fois l'éblouissement passé, on reviens vite à la réalité ...

  • Hi. How do you incorporate this expression into the sentence I said? Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 17:23
  • Answer updated with suggestions.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 22:17
  • Do you think the expression "à travers des lunettes roses" leans towards the negative side? Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 20:04
  • It probably does but the issue is that the expression is not very used in France. It seems to be more popular in Quebec.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 20:44

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