Category Archives: Japanese

Wagahai wa Sam de aru

馬には乗ってみよ人には添うてみよ (Uma ni wa notte miyo hito ni wa soute miyo; “Try riding a horse; try accompanying a person”) Definition: It’s often difficult to understand the true nature of something without experiencing it firsthand, so don’t criticize or judge until … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get out of the blazing heat

円転滑脱 en.ten.katsu.datsu Literally: round – revolve – slide – remove Alternately: Able to change one’s words and actions in response to other people’s mood or situation, and thus get stuff done without ruffling feathers unnecessarily. Dealing with things skillfully. Adaptable; … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More comfortable than a high horse

I say it’s high time 枕を高くして寝る (Makura wo tataku shite neru; “To sleep with your pillow high”) Definition: Having nothing at all to worry about. Complete and utter peace of mind. Care-free and able to sleep easy. Breakdown: This simple … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The opposite of Genji

天真爛漫 ten.shin.ran.man Literally: heavens – true – inflamed – involuntary Alternately: When a person’s thoughts and feelings show on the surface of their words and behavior.Simplicity; naivete; unaffectedness. Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve. Keep in mind that in contemporary … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As opposed to strawberry fields

(…which I’m told are forever) 滄海変じて桑田となる (Soukai henjite souden to naru; “The sea becomes a field of mulberries.”) Definition: The world is full of dramatic changes. If you stop paying attention to something for a few years, when you next … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The natural state of heroes

疲労困憊 hi.rou.kon.pai Literally: tire(d) – labor – distress – fatigue Alternately: Complete and utter exhaustion. As tired as one can be. Notes: This is another compound of redundant terms for emphasis: both 疲労 and 困憊 mean “exhaustion,” “fatigue,” “weariness.” I … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A tip for an umbrella

濡れぬ先の傘 (Nurenu saki no kasa; “(Opening) an umbrella before getting wet”) Definition: Thorough advance preparation. Like opening an umbrella before any rain has even started falling. Prevention is better than cure; better early than late. Breakdown: We begin with the … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment