Category Archives: Japanese

If possible, try to ween the exact right amount

Turns out it means “to suppose, to expect.” 驕る平家は久しからず (Ogoru Heike wa hisashikarazu; “The haughty Heike are not for long”) Definition: Pride comes before a fall, and outright arrogance is especially vulnerable. The more a person becomes full of themselves, … Continue reading

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

Busy lake

(Yes, I know that that would actually be ビジー) 美辞麗句 bi.ji.rei.ku Literally: beautiful – word – lovely – phrase Alternately: Pretty turns of speech. Flowery phrasing. Artful rhetoric. As with previous post-fodder 外交辞令, there’s an implication of speech that is … Continue reading

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

Worse than the Hounds of Tindalos

煩悩の犬は追えども去らず (Bonnou no inu wa oedomo sarazu; “Even if you drive out the hounds of earthly urges, they don’t go away”) Definition: Earthly desires will remain with you even if, and no matter how many times, you suppress them. The … Continue reading

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

Not a vital value: 味

(I kid, I kid.) 和敬清寂 wa.kei.sei.jaku Literally: harmony – respect – purity – silence / loneliness Alternately: A term from tea ceremony (茶道, sadou). The host and guests (are supposed to) create a pure (清) and tranquil (寂) atmosphere within … Continue reading

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

Neither the long nor the short of it

帯に短し襷に長し (Obi ni mijikashi tasuki ni nagashi; “Short for a belt, long for a sleeve-strap”) Definition: In a midway state that precludes value that might be found at either extreme. Like a strip of cloth that is too short to … Continue reading

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

In honor of the coming era

外交辞令 gai.kou.ji.rei Literally: outside – mix – word – decree Alternately: Tact and flattery. Phrasing a message to most please the listener, or going out of your way to praise and compliment them, without any sincere intent beyond the desire … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Long before Tezuka or Dazai

他山の石以て玉を攻むべし (Tazan no ishi motte tama wo osamu beshi; “One must polish one’s jewels with stones from other mountains.”) Definition: A command to take someone else’s mistakes as an opportunity to reflect on and improve your own ways. “One must … Continue reading

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