Category Archives: Japanese

As the Beatles said!

Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah 唯唯諾諾 i.i.daku.daku Literally: only – only – agreement – agreement Alternately: Going along with what someone says without considering the merits or the rights-and-wrongs of it. Yes-manning. Notes: Despite the literal meanings listed above, my sources … Continue reading

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When the cover-up actually is worse than the crime

李下に冠を正さず (Rika ni kanmuri wo tadasazu; “Don’t straighten your hat below a plum tree”) Definition: Don’t do things that invite suspicion or misunderstanding. Even if you’re innocent, it’s best to avoid even the accidental appearance of guilt. If you reach … Continue reading

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Whee!

I only used to have nine pen! 有為転変 u.i.ten.pen Literally: exist – do / change – turn – strange Alternately: Everything in the world is in a constant state of flux. Everything changes; nothing stays the same. A Buddhist comment … Continue reading

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Out of rain, out of brain

雨晴れて笠を忘れる (Ame harete kasa wo wasureru; “The rain stops and you forget your umbrella (hat)”) Definition: As soon as a painful situation is over, the help one received is forgotten. When rain is threatening or falling people make sure to … Continue reading

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The flame and the flood

天変地異 ten.pen.chi.i Literally: heaven – change – earth – different Alternately: Natural disasters or bizarre natural phenomena. Bad or weird stuff that’s not man-made. You know, like eclipses, record-breaking storms, and floods. Notes: 天変 refers to unusual celestial events like … Continue reading

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Hitting the Wong target by accident?

That title feels extra obscure even though I totally explain it below. Weird. 草を打って蛇を驚かす (Kusa wo utte hebi wo odorokasu; “Strike the grass, surprise a snake”) Definition: An innocent or unthinking action that draws unintended, usually bad, consequences. Like idly … Continue reading

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Laugh ten million laughs

And then stop? 笑止千万 shou.shi.sen.ban Literally: smile – stop – thousand – ten thousand Alternately: Extremely absurd, ridiculous, stupid; pitiful, unfortunate. Notes: 笑止 refers to something funny – or stupid – or pitiable – or worrisome – or embarrassing, while … Continue reading

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