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.

It ain’t no thing

– but an unfelt sting 鹿の角を蜂が刺す (Shika no tsuno wo hachi ga sasu; “A wasp stings a deer’s antler”) Definition: In literal terms, this phrase refers to something that doesn’t even tickle or itch, much less hurt; something that elicits … Continue reading

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Wild horses could, in fact, drag it out of me

意馬心猿 i.ba.shin.en Literally: mind – horse – heart – monkey Alternately: This Buddhist phrase expresses how it is difficult to control oneself and detach from the illusory material world because worldly desires, false beliefs, and mental pollution such as hatred … Continue reading

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Hasty digging in the Mines of Morai

慌てる乞食は貰いが少ない (Awateru kojiki wa morai ga sukunai; “A beggar in a hurry receives little alms”) Definition: Haste makes waste; slow and steady wins the race. Rushing about or fighting to get in the door first, especially in pursuit of profit, … Continue reading

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Spear-spine spirit

首尾一貫 shu.bi.i-.kkan Literally: neck / head – tail – one – pierce Alternately: Seeing something through from beginning to end without any change in attitude. Consistency in principles, execution of a project, etc. Although the idea might seem negative to … Continue reading

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All eyes upon you, Masao-kun

弱り目に祟り目(Yowarime ni tatarime; “In a time of weakness, a curse”) Definition: To be beset by compounded troubles when things were already bad. To be kicked when you’re down. Having salt rubbed on your wounds. Things were already worrisome, then they … Continue reading

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Balanced on the head of a hinpin

文質彬彬 bun.shitsu.hin.pin Literally: style – substance – refined – refined Alternately: (A person in whom) external beauty and internal substance are in balance and harmony. Someone unbalanced in favor of their “interior” is crude, plain, unrefined. Someone unbalanced in favor … Continue reading

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From the ashes a fire shall be woken?

A light from the shadows shall spring! 焼け木杭に火がつく (Yake-bokkui ni hi ga tsuku; “Fire catches on a burned stick”) Definition: A former relationship that was cut off is easy to reestablish. On meeting an old friend or lover, you often … Continue reading

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A leap of dumbth

軽挙妄動 kei.kyo.mou.dou Literally: light (as opposed to “serious”) – action – delusion – motion Alternately: Rash, unthinking action. Doing this and that on impulse, without planning or consideration. Indiscriminate wild flailing. Notes: Despite their relatively similar meanings, replacing 妄 with … Continue reading

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Soldiers are for war, not for peaceful protests

(Another saying that features 焉. Next week we’ll have something different, I promise.) 鶏を割くに焉んぞ牛刀を用いん (Niwatori wo saku ni izukunzo gyuutou wo mochiin; “Why use a cow-cleaver to cut up a chicken?”) Definition: There’s no need to use powerful tools, or … Continue reading

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Chai knees characters

(Why yes, I am using this because I was looking into 焉 for the previous kotowaza post. Funny how that works.) 烏焉魯魚 u.en.ro.gyo Literally: bird – how / why – foolish – fish Alternately: The meanings of the original characters … Continue reading

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