Category Archives: Kotowaza

Don’t just tread on it

Make sure your neighborhood is friendly to mongooses 蛇の生殺しは人を噛む (Hebi no namagoroshi wa hito wo kamu; “A half-killed snake bites a person”) Definition: If you take action but don’t finish the job, you only invite harm. A snake wounded but … Continue reading

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An ounce of prevention is worth….

Buy it when prevention is cheap, not when cure is costly 治に居て乱を忘れず (Chi ni ite ran wo wasurezu; “In peace, do not forget strife”) Definition: Even in times of peace and safety, it’s still necessary to plan ahead in case … Continue reading

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Never bring a gun to a stats fight

Seriously; that’d be a crime. 下手な鉄砲も数撃てば当たる (Heta na teppou mo kazu uteba ataru; “Even an inept gun, fired a number of times, will hit.”) Definition: Even if someone is very bad at something, with enough tries they’ll produce strong results … Continue reading

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Hefty fluff

重箱の隅を突く (Juubako no sumi wo tsutsuku; “To poke at the corners of a juubako”) Definition: To fuss over trivial details; to nitpick; to carp endlessly about fine points that don’t actually make a difference. The image is of someone who … Continue reading

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Next verse, same as the first

二の舞を演じる (Ni no mai wo enjiru; “to dance the second dance”) Definition: Committing someone else’s previous errors, even with the awareness of what has happened. Seeing someone fail, and then making the same mistakes. Breakdown: This simple phrase begins three … Continue reading

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As you sow, so shall you reap… the opposite!

楽は苦の種苦は楽の種 (Raku wa ku no tane ku wa raku no tane; “Ease is the seed of hardship; hardship is the seed of ease”) Definition: If you spend all your time taking things easy, you’ll fall on hard times later on … Continue reading

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If you want good fruit, sleep on it

果報は寝て待て (Kahou wa nete mate; “For good fortune, sleep, wait.”) Definition: Good fortune will come of its own accord, in its own time, so it’s best to prepare and patiently wait for it rather than fretting or trying to force … 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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The wascal of small minds

株を守りて兎を待つ (Kabu wo mamorite usagi wo matsu; “Watching a stump, awaiting a rabbit”) Definition: Being unable to advance because one is fruitlessly invested in old habits or customs, or in a strategy that was successful once but no longer applies. … Continue reading

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