Category Archives: Japanese

Hagoromo

Or, you know. 天衣無縫 ten.i.mu.hou Literally: heaven – clothing – no – stitch Alternately: Naturally flawless and beautiful. Amazingly well-made, without any sign of artifice. Usually refers to poetry, or to a person’s unaffected innocence of character. Notes: A number … Continue reading

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Out of mouth, out of mind

喉元過ぎれば熱さを忘れる (Nodomoto sugireba atsusa wo wasureru; “To forget the heat after swallowing”) Definition: No matter how painful a situation was, the pain – or alternately, the debts owed to people who helped out when times were bad – are quickly … Continue reading

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The widening gyre

But the centre yet holds? 物情騒然 butsu.jou.sou.zen Literally: thing – emotion – noisy – “in that way” Alternately: Widespread unrest and turmoil. Something, especially society at large, in a state of upheaval, disturbance, convulsion, and kerfuffle. Even if you’re reform-minded, … Continue reading

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A sinister retirement package

If you’re a lefty, do you substitute in 右? 左団扇で暮らす (Hidari uchiwa de kurasu; “Living with a fan in your left hand”) Definition: Living a life of ease and relaxation. A lifestyle without stress or worry. The image invoked is … Continue reading

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🎶So🎶

Later someone invented a system of eight directions. 四面楚歌 shi.men.so.ka Literally: four – face – Chu – song Alternately: Completely alone and cut off, surrounded by enemies. Having foes in all (four cardinal) directions. Feeling forsaken and betrayed. Notes: This … Continue reading

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Pure of heart,

worse than a fart. 水清ければ魚棲まず (Mizu kiyokereba uo sumazu; “If the water is pure fish don’t live there.”) Definition: If you’re too serious and straitlaced, then instead of loving you and wanting to be close to you, people will keep … Continue reading

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Think, think, think

思慮分別 shi.ryo.fun.betsu Literally: think – consider – part – separate Alternately: Making judgments based on careful consideration. Thinking deeply about the merits of a situation and only then deciding. Notes: Again we have two two-character words of related meaning compounded … Continue reading

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