Category Archives: Japanese

Nothing but boss fights

(Pun) 人の振り見て我が振り直せ (Hito no furi mite waga furi naose; “Observe the behavior of others; correct your own”) Definition: An admonition to grow and improve by observing those around you. When you see good behavior, you should copy it; when you … Continue reading

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In loco?

心神耗弱 shin.shin.kou.jaku Literally: heart – soul – decrease – weak Alternately: Decreased mental capacity. Having lost the ability to judge right and wrong and act accordingly. This is actually a legal and medical term indicating diminished responsibility: that someone cannot … Continue reading

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The best defense is a good stylin’

眉に唾を付ける (Mayu ni tsuba wo tsukeru; “to rub spit on your eyebrows”) Definition: To be on one’s guard against lies and trickery. A catchphrase meaning that somebody is likely to try to fool or deceive you in some way. Breakdown: … Continue reading

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Hot air rises

意気揚揚i.ki.you.you Literally: mind/heart – spirit – raise – raise Alternately: In high spirits; triumphant, elated… by extension, boastful; proud unto arrogance; full of oneself. Often used with the ironic or critical nuance that someone’s inflated self-esteem is not actually in … Continue reading

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A journey of 10,000 coughs starts with a single sniffle

風邪は万病のもと (Kaze wa manbyou no moto; “A fever is the root of ten thousand diseases”) Definition: Even if a disease seems to be mild (“just a cold”), don’t just brush it off. Things can get bad if complications arise, so … Continue reading

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Exceeding fines

信賞必罰 shin.shou.hitsu.batsu Literally: fidelity – prize/reward – inevitable – punishment Alternately: Sure reward and certain punishment. Strict, unfailing, and proper apportionment of just deserts, both boons and banes. Notes: This phrase comes to us from the Han Feizi (the『韓非子』= Japanese … Continue reading

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The damage a jade can do

Worse yet when its herd pretends that it’s a noble stallion even though it could hardly be meaner or more broken-down 一匹の馬が狂えば千匹の馬も狂う (Ippiki no uma ga kurueba senbiki no uma mo kuruu; “When one horse goes mad, a thousand horses … Continue reading

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