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.

Long before Tezuka or Dazai

他山の石以て玉を攻むべし (Tazan no ishi motte tama wo osamu beshi; “One must polish one’s jewels with stones from other mountains.”) Definition: A command to take someone else’s mistakes as an opportunity to reflect on and improve your own ways. “One must … Continue reading

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Kackling

呵呵大笑 ka.ka.tai.shou Literally: scold – scold – big – laugh/smile Alternately: Laughing Out Loud. Hearty laughter. Notes: As usual, the second 呵 can be replaced with the doubling mark 々. 大 may also be pronounced dai, although this seems to … Continue reading

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This kotowaza brought to you by Ed Sheeran

(Thusly.) 対岸の火事 (Taigan no kaji; “Fire on the far shore”) Definition: Somebody Else’s Problem. Something that doesn’t impact you in any way; “No skin off my nose.” Like a fire seen from the opposite shore of a body of water, … Continue reading

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Pride cometh

Every castle is undefeated… for some while! 難攻不落 nan.kou.fu.raku Literally: difficult – attack – not – fall Alternately: Nigh impervious to assault. Difficult even to attack, much less to actually bring down, like a near-impregnable castle. By extension, a situation … Continue reading

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Butter, no; steel, yes

衆口金を鑠かす (Shuukou kin wo tokasu; “The mouths of the masses melt metal.”) Definition: Rumor and slander tend to get worse as they spread. The power of many people all talking about something is to be feared, because even correct information … Continue reading

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Seal up your lips, and give no words

But mum! 他言無用 ta.gon.mu.you Literally: other – say – no – use Alternately: “Don’t talk about this to anyone.” “Loose lips sink ships.” Notes: 言 may also be pronounced gen. In contrast to the aphoristic nature of most yojijukugo, this … Continue reading

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Castles in the (hot) air

口では大坂の城も建つ (Kuchi de wa Oosaka no shiro mo tatsu; “Even Osaka Castle can be built in words”) Definition: Mighty deeds are easy to talk about, but hard to actually accomplish. “Easier said than done.” Breakdown: We begin with the noun … Continue reading

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