Point of interest: 天使(てんし)

angels and schoolchildren
192 words
In English we often use an expression such as 'like an angel' to describe a well-behaved child. The literal translation of this expression also exists in Japanese and is sometimes used in the same way:
She is an angel of a girl.
However, in Japanese, the underlying meaning - that the behavior of the child is being compared to that of an unearthly celestial being - is missing; the figure of speech 天使のような has simply come to mean 'well-behaved', absent of context. This means that variant forms of the expression, such as 天使みたい, might not be understood, because they have not acquired the same implied meaning. This is perhaps not surprising, because
as we think of them in the west (white winged creatures) are essentially taken from Western religions, and the same concept does not directly exist in Japanese religions.
If you do want to describe a child as well-behaved in a neutral way, the most common approach is to use the word おりこうさん (usually written in kana). りこう is from 利口 (effective + mouth). お is the polite prefix, and さん allows you to apply the noun as a label for a specific child:
Your child is very well-behaved!

Kanji used in this point of interest

テン   あめ    あま- heaven   
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シ   つか to use   
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リ    effective, interest, profit, advantage   き to be effective   
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コウ   ク   くち mouth   
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ヒ   かれ he   
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ジョ   ニョ   ニョウ   woman; female   おんな woman   め woman   
ショウ   すこ a little   すくない few   
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