Category Archives: Japanese

What part of the law is this possession?

正直の頭に神宿る (Shoujiki no koube ni kami yadoru; “A god dwells in the head of the honest”) Definition: Honesty is the best policy. A benevolent spirit will protect, inspire, even possess those who are honest in their dealings. Note that here … Continue reading

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The preeminent hobby of the times

Only in small part due to the weather, sadly. 蟄居屏息 chi-.kkyo.hei.soku Literally: “hibernation of insects” – exist; reside – fence – breath Alternately: Staying indoors and keeping quiet. Waiting inside with bated breath. Notes: This was apparently also the name … Continue reading

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Keep in mind for next year

Seriously, try to avoid travel during a pandemic, even if it’s for love. 惚れて通えば千里も一理 (Horete kayoeba senri mo ichiri; “If you travel while in love, even a thousand ri feel like one.”) Definition: If you’re traveling to meet with someone … Continue reading

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My friend Dan

一致団結 i-.cchi.dan.ketsu Literally: one – do – group – bind / join Alternately: Many people joining and working together for a common cause. Notes: This is a compound of compounds. 一致 is “agreement,” “union,” while 団結 is “grouping together,” “teaming … Continue reading

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It’s a new wind, so blow no ill

明日は明日の風が吹く (Ashita wa ashita no kaze ga fuku; “Tomorrow, tomorrow’s wind will blow.”) Definition: Things might be bad today, but tomorrow could well be better, so don’t let it get you in a funk. Alternately: you don’t know what the … Continue reading

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Lose yourself in the public flats

公平無私 kou.hei.mu.shi Literally: public – even – no – private Alternately: Impartial; unprejudiced; unswayed by personal interests. Fair. Notes: This comes from our friend the Han shi waizhuan (Japanese 『韓詩外伝』 = Kanshi gaiden). It also has an expanded Japanese-style reading, … Continue reading

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Chopped short by the writer’s block

文は遣りたし書く手は持たず(Fumi wa yaritashi kakute wa motazu;“Wanting to send a letter, but lacking the hand to write it”) Definition: This phrase expresses a desire to write a letter to someone (especially a family member, close friend, or lover), accompanied by writer’s … Continue reading

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Wrack, wrack, wrack your brains

And your body too! Merrily… ? 意匠惨憺 i.shou.san.tan Literally: mind – artisan – harsh – calm Alternately: Doing one’s utmost in an act of creation (especially artistic creation) or design; painstaking attention to detail and agonizing effort for the purpose … Continue reading

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The attack of Not A Number

Beware lest your calculations be all messed up 一難去ってまた一難 (Ichinan satte mata ichinan; “One trouble goes; another trouble.”) Definition: No sooner have you escaped one danger or difficulty than the next arises. Out of the frying-pan and into the next … Continue reading

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Touch and touch and touch and touch and touch and touch and touch and touch and touch and go

九死一生 kyuu.shi.i-.sshou Literally: nine – die – one – live Alternately: To somehow survive a very seriously dangerous situation. To be alive after escaping a 90% chance of dying. Notes: This comes to us from the Chu Ci, aka the … Continue reading

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