Category Archives: Japanese

Hey, simulation!

麻の中の蓬 (Asa no naka no yomogi; “Mugwort amongst hemp”) Definition: If you spend time with good people you’ll be influenced and inspired by them, and become a better person yourself. This is the positive-oriented counterpart to last week’s 朱に交われば赤くなる. The … Continue reading

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Fight fiercely, Harvard

(“Lehrer” means “teacher”) 力戦奮闘 riki.sen.fun.tou Literally: power – battle – invigorated – fight Alternately: Fighting as hard as you can. By extension, working as hard as you can. Strenuous effort.

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When birds make you of a feather

Any reference to communism exist solely in the mind of the reader 朱に交われば赤くなる (Shu ni majiwareba akaku naru; “Who associates with vermilion will turn red”) Definition: People change to match their environments, for better or for worse. You grow to … Continue reading

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A gathering of silver threads

The Little Mermaid II 百川帰海 hyaku.sen.ki.kai Literally: hundred – river – return (home) – ocean Alternately: Things that were scattered or disparate coming together, like how rivers and streams start here and there but all end up in the sea. … Continue reading

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But humans turn to face our predators

苛政は虎よりも猛し (Kasei wa tora yori mo takeshi; “A cruel government is more terrible than a tiger”) Definition: The harm done by bad governance is worse than that done by a ravenous tiger. People fear wild nature, but often it poses … Continue reading

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Shouldn’t grow on you

短慮軽率 tan.ryo.kei.sotsu Literally: short – consider – light – proportion Alternately: Deciding things without considering the consequences or results. Impulsive; unthinking. Rash. Notes: This four-character compound comprises compound adjectival nouns 短慮, “imprudence,” “quick temper,” and 軽率, “hasty,” “rash.” The order … Continue reading

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Don’t work for the man, man

Rarely truer than now すまじきものは宮仕え (Sumajiki mono wa miya-dzukae; “The thing one mustn’t do is serve at court”) Definition: If possible, it’s best not to let yourself be used by other people. It’s best to be your own boss instead … Continue reading

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