Category Archives: Japanese

Why oh why ask why?

Because it’s good for you! 聞くは一時の恥聞かぬは一生の恥 (Kiku wa ittoki no haji kikanu wa isshou no haji; “To ask is a moment’s shame; to not ask is a lifetime’s shame.”) Definition: It’s embarrassing to have to ask a question and reveal … Continue reading

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

A kind of discrimination that’s totally okay

Encouraged, actually. 公私混同 kou.shi.kon.dou Literally: public – private – blend / confuse – equal Alternately: Failing to properly differentiate between public and private business. Getting one’s private interests and personal affairs entangled in public policy-making. Using a public institution for … Continue reading

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

All the king’s horses shouldn’t cry over spilled milk

覆水盆に返らず (Fukusui bon ni kaerazu; “You can’t put spilled water back in the saucer”) Definition: You can’t undo what’s been done. You can’t redo what’s been undone. You can’t uncrack an egg. As much as you may sometimes want to … Continue reading

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

LA, LA, LA, LA LA LA, LA-LA-LA LA LA LA

(It’s a French song; very appropriate.) 傍若無人 bou.jaku.bu.jin Literally: bystander – possibly / (young) – nothing – person Alternately: Doing or saying whatever the hell you want without caring that you’re in public. Acting however you feel like without consideration … Continue reading

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

Like falling off a bike, but very different

案ずるより産むが易し (Anzuru yori umu ga yasushi; “Birthing is easier than planning”) Definition: The deed is often less terrible than anticipation-nerves would have it. Before starting a course of action people tend to worry about this and that, but find the … Continue reading

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

Spread your tiny wings

And fire the FBI director if the investigation scares you? 小心翼翼 shou.shin.yoku.yoku Literally: small – heart – wing – wing Alternately: Timid; nervous; fearful. Notes: As always the doubled character can be replaced by the doubling mark 々. 小心 refers … Continue reading

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

Like taking candy

Not from a baby, you monster お茶の子さいさい (Ocha no ko saisai; “Alright; tea candy!”) Definition: Something super simple and easy; just a little thing. Words of encouragement. Something as effortless as picking up and eating a bit of some snack-food. … Continue reading

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