Category Archives: Japanese

Just avoid immovable objects

…and you’ll be fine. Right? 断じて行えば鬼神も之を避く (Danjite okonaeba kishin mo kore wo saku; “If you do things decisively, even demon-gods will get out of the way”) Definition: If you take decisive action backed by strong determination, there is little that … Continue reading

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Melting pot, ethnic stew

Either way, we’re all in this vessel together 渾然一体 kon.zen.i-.ttai Literally: all – “sort of thing” – one – body Alternately: Disparate things mixing together to form a harmonious or unified whole. A workable sum of parts. The ideal of … Continue reading

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The opposite of charmed

引かれ者の小唄 (Hikaremono no kouta; “The ballad of someone being pulled along”) Definition: Putting on a brave face in the face of despair; refusing to admit defeat in a seemingly impossible situation; defiant confidence against overwhelming odds. Like someone condemned for … Continue reading

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But what do you do with half a hemp-tangle?

Throw water on it, maybe 快刀乱麻 kai.tou.ran.ma Literally: pleasant – sword – disorder – hemp Alternately: Skillfully (and quickly) resolving a complicated situation or solving a complicated problem. Notes: 快刀 is a sword with a good cutting edge; 乱麻 is … Continue reading

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And now you understand 90% of every samurai movie

武士は食わねど高楊枝 (Bushi wa kuwanedo takayouji; “Even a warrior who hasn’t eaten uses a toothpick”) Definition: A destitute warrior who hasn’t eaten nonetheless acting like they have, in order to avoid revealing weakness to any potential enemies. By extension, putting on … Continue reading

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None are so lost as those who will not stop being lost

, Darryl 迷者不問 mei.sha.fu.mon Literally: lost – person – non – ask Alternately: “The (truly) lost are those who do not ask (the way).” An admonition to ask questions when there’s something you don’t understand. If you get lost – … Continue reading

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But does a triple thing happen five times?

1123581321345589? 二度あることは三度ある (Nido aru koto wa sando aru; “Something that happens twice, happens three times”) Definition: Things tend to repeat. If something has happened before, especially more than once, then it should be assumed that it can and will happen … Continue reading

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