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.