Author Archives: Confanity

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.

Some people just want things that don’t burn

沈香も焚かず屁もひらず (Jinkou mo takazu he mo hirazu; “Neither burning agarwood incense nor loosing a fart”) Definition: A person (or lifestyle) without any particular good or bad points; someone who causes no harm but is exceedingly mediocre. Someone with, metaphorically speaking, … Continue reading

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It didn’t work for stoicism

一子相伝 i-.sshi.sou.den Literally: one – child – mutual – transmit Alternately: A traditional system where the inner, secret, or ultimate teachings of an art, craft, school of thought, etc. are passed on to exactly one heir (usually from a father … Continue reading

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The disaster’s antecedent

蟻の穴から堤も崩れる (Ari no ana kara tsutsumi mo kuzureru; “Even a dike crumbles due to an ant’s burrow”) Definition: Big events can arise from small causes. Specifically, even errors, negligence, or lack of attention or preparation that didn’t seem important at … Continue reading

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Look at me, look at me, LOOK AT ME NOW!

(And pay no attention to the man behind the curtain) 自己顕示 ji.ko.ken.ji Literally: self – self – appear – indicate Alternately: Making oneself apparent. Speaking up, standing out, catching attention; making oneself conspicuous or unignorable; working to advance one’s own … Continue reading

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Forget little spoon; do you want to be the lid?

割れ鍋に綴じ蓋 (Warenabe ni tojibuta; “A mended lid on a cracked pot”) Definition: Everybody has their match; no matter how out-of-place a person may feel, there is someone out there who would make a good spouse, friend, or other sort of … Continue reading

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When you write the right rite

温柔敦厚 on.juu.ton.kou Literally: warm – soft – kind – thick / kind Alternately: Kind and gentle, considerate and loving. Notes: This is a compound of compounds. 温柔 expresses a warm, mild disposition; 敦厚 is humanity and kindness. Similar terms include … Continue reading

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The taste of a beetle

蓼食う虫も好き好き (Tade kuu mushi mo sukizuki; “Even the bug who eats knotweed likes it”) Definition: Yet again, “different people have different tastes.” A person can like a thing that you don’t (or vice-versa), and that’s okay. Even spicy plants have … Continue reading

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Fly, cow, fly; cow, fly, cow

蚊虻走牛 bun.bou.sou.gyuu Literally: mosquito – horsefly – run – cow Alternately: Something powerful being defeated by something weak; the great overthrown by the small. Literally, a cow being driven to run away by the onslaught of tiny biting flies. Alternatively, … Continue reading

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Any shape other than the actual shape, really

四角な座敷を丸く掃く (Shikaku na zashiki wo maruku haku; “To sweep a circle in a square room”) Definition: To shirk; to cut corners; to do a bad job at something because you put in the bare minimum of thought and effort. Like … Continue reading

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I know why the caged monkey sings

籠鳥檻猿 rou.chou.kan.en Literally: cage – bird – (jail) cell/pen – monkey Alternately: Unfree; specifically, having had one’s freedom taken away. Living like a bird – or monkey – in a cage, unable to do what you want. Notes: This phrase … Continue reading

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