A post a long time in the making

海千山千
umi.sen.yama.sen

Literally: ocean – thousand – mountain – thousand

Alternately: The pinnacle of cunning. A sly old fox. Someone who, though long experience, has developed an almost-unbeatable level of cleverness.

Notes: First, keep in mind that this is about general wits and worldly wisdom, not skill in a specific art or craft.

Remember the notes to 蛇の道は蛇? Well, here we are again. A snake that lives for a thousand years in the mountains and a thousand years in the sea will grow large, and learn many things, and become a dragon. A hebi that has reached ja status is so far above its former snake fellows that there isn’t even grounds for comparison.

Finally, note that some versions use (kawa, “river”) instead of , which makes sense if you keep in mind that dragons are associated with water and that rivers seen from a mountain-top might look like long snakes or dragons, slithering across the landscape below.

As above, so below

This amazing piece of 千と千尋の神隠し (Spirited Away) fanart by ensoulifly, who has graciously allowed me to use it here. Check out their other works!

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
This entry was posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s