Rome didn’t fruit in a day

Still faster than truffula trees, though.

(Momokuri sannen kaki hachinen;
Peach and chestnut, three years; persimmons, eight years.”)


As Piet Hein said, Things Take Time. The peach and chestnut trees must grow for three years from when they sprout before they begin bearing fruit, and the persimmon tree takes eight years. So do all plans and tasks and special investigations require time before coming to fruition; there is no magic bullet for instant success.


All kanji! No grammar! We begin with 桃 (momo), “peach (tree),” and 栗 (kuri), “chestnut (tree),” juxtaposed to show that they’re in the same category, followed by the number-noun combination 三年 (sannen), “three years.” Next up is the noun 柿 (kaki), “persimmon (tree),” coupled with number-noun 八年 (hachinen), “eight years.”


This pithy saying is part of a long tradition of kotowaza encouraging patient, steady effort. Some variants also claim that biwa fruit (a.k.a. loquats)and yuzu (a citrus) take nine years, etc.

This saying is the も entry of the Osaka iroha karuta set, and comes to us from an Edo-era essay called the 三養雑記 (San’you zakki).

Example sentence:


(“Tsugi no happyou ga machidooshii kamoshiremasen ga, momokuri sannen kaki hachinen to iu no de, ato shibaraku gama wo onegai shimasu.”)

[“You’re likely waiting on the edge of your seats for the next announcements. But as they say, ‘good things come to those who wait,’ so please bear with us for a while longer.”]

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.
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4 Responses to Rome didn’t fruit in a day

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