You can lead a field to water, but you can’t… hang on.

我田引水
ga.den.in.sui

Literally: I/self – (rice) field – pull – water

Alternately: “Drawing water for one’s own field.” Serving only your own interests. Saying and doing what’s best for your convenience without consideration for others.

Notes: In Japan, where wet rice farming is a key agricultural activity, getting water to your fields is a major concern. When water is scarce, this can lead to conflict; when the community is full of people who try to keep their own fields flooded at their neighbors’ expense, you get the tragedy of the commons.

Dinosaur Comics

Source: The irreproducible Dinosaur Comics! By Ryan North!

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.

One Response to You can lead a field to water, but you can’t… hang on.

  1. Pingback: Giving oneself a (winning) hand | landofnudotcom

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