Category Archives: Kotowaza

Wagahai wa Sam de aru

馬には乗ってみよ人には添うてみよ (Uma ni wa notte miyo hito ni wa soute miyo; “Try riding a horse; try accompanying a person”) Definition: It’s often difficult to understand the true nature of something without experiencing it firsthand, so don’t criticize or judge until … Continue reading

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More comfortable than a high horse

I say it’s high time 枕を高くして寝る (Makura wo tataku shite neru; “To sleep with your pillow high”) Definition: Having nothing at all to worry about. Complete and utter peace of mind. Care-free and able to sleep easy. Breakdown: This simple … Continue reading

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As opposed to strawberry fields

(…which I’m told are forever) 滄海変じて桑田となる (Soukai henjite souden to naru; “The sea becomes a field of mulberries.”) Definition: The world is full of dramatic changes. If you stop paying attention to something for a few years, when you next … Continue reading

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A tip for an umbrella

濡れぬ先の傘 (Nurenu saki no kasa; “(Opening) an umbrella before getting wet”) Definition: Thorough advance preparation. Like opening an umbrella before any rain has even started falling. Prevention is better than cure; better early than late. Breakdown: We begin with the … Continue reading

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Ready to go, but never to return

傘と提灯は戻らぬつもりで貸せ (Kasa to chouchin wa modoranu tsumori de kase; “Lend umbrellas and lanterns with the awareness that they will not return”) Definition: People are forgetful. Human nature being what it is, there are certain things that you should expect, such … Continue reading

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If the cattle are horny, you shouldn’t care if they’re straight

角を矯めて牛を殺す (Tsuno wo tamete ushi wo korosu; “Straightening the horns, killing the cow”) Definition: A situation where trying to fix a small problem ruins the whole thing. The cure being worse than the disease. Hammering and pulling on a cow’s … Continue reading

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The audacity of crime

盗人猛猛しい (Nusubito takedakeshii; “An impudent thief”) Definition: Remaining calm and self-assured even when doing something wrong. Alternately, when you get caught doing something wrong, acting defiant or even becoming aggressive toward the person who caught you, instead of being properly … Continue reading

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