Category Archives: Japanese

Ningen shikaku

(More or less) 四角四面 shi.kaku.shi.men Literally: four – corner – four – face Alternately: Square. Four (equal) angles and four (equal sides), just like it says. By extension, a “square” personality: extremely, perhaps even overly, serious. Meticulous; stiff; formal; lacking … Continue reading

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On the benefits of job security

Or ego security, perhaps. 名人は人を謗らず (Meijin wa hito wo soshirazu; “The master speaks not ill of others”) Definition: True masters of their art do not go out of their way to find fault with others. If you are an expert, … Continue reading

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Keep your debrief brief

敗軍の将は兵を語らず (Haigun no shou wa hei wo katarazu; “The defeated commander speaks not of war.”) Definition: Someone who has failed at something has no authority to speak on the topic; a defeated general should not give their opinions on warfare. … Continue reading

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I have seen tempests

櫛風沐雨 shi-.ppuu.moku.u Literally: comb – wind – wash – rain Alternately: Wind-blasted and rain-drenched. With one’s hair blown about by wind and one’s body washed by rain; by extension, someone who is out struggling in story weather because of work … Continue reading

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Dotted Is and red E

用意周到 you.i.shuu.tou Literally: use – mind – circumference – arrive Alternately: Thorough preparations, without any oversights. Being incredibly careful; doing everything possible to get ready for something. A good way to be, if you can manage. Notes: This is a … Continue reading

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“It is useless to meet revenge with revenge; it will heal nothing.”

(J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King) 彼方を立てれば此方が立たず (Achira wo tatereba kochira ga tatazu; “If one raises that side, this side will not rise.”) Definition: It’s difficult, almost impossible, to get all sides of something equally accepting and happy about … Continue reading

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Ta’anit umikveh?

斎戒沐浴sai.kai.moku.yoku Literally: purification – admonition / precept – wash – bathe Alternately: Ritual purification in advance of an important holiday, ceremony, or time of prayer; in particular, fasting and bathing. Notes: This is a compound of compounds. 斎戒 refers to … Continue reading

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Darkened minds are worse than darkened eyes

真の闇より無闇が怖い (Shin no yami yori muyami ga kowai; “Thoughtlessness is more frightening than pitch darkness”) Definition: Being caught in utter darkness is scary, because you can’t be sure where everything is, or even what actually is and isn’t there at … Continue reading

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“Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth”

– FDR 再三再四 sai.san.sai.shi Literally: again – three – again – four Alternately: Repeatedly; over and over; time and time again. It seems that this phrase is often used while chewing someone out, to emphasize how many times they were … Continue reading

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A leaf on the wind; watch how it soars

一葉落ちて天下の秋を知る (Ichiyou ochite tenka no aki wo shiru; “A leaf falls, and one knows autumn”) Definition: Sensing something big coming on from a relatively minor hint. Understanding the future from the very first signs. Like realizing that fall is on … Continue reading

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