Category Archives: Kotowaza

An irony for many residents of DC

Especially the transients. You know who you are. 住めば都 (Sumeba miyako; “If you live there, it’s the capital”) Definition: No matter how inconvenient, old, noisy, or just plain bad your residence is, it still feels like you belong there. Once … Continue reading

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Potholes are another story

盲蛇に怖じず (Mekura hebi ni ojizu; “The blind do not fear snakes”) Definition: The ignorant have no way to judge the true danger of a situation, and so take risks that more knowledgeable people would avoid. “Fools rush in where angels … Continue reading

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Make sure to rationalize your hands more often in the winter

(to prevent chapping) 理屈と膏薬はどこへでも付く (Rikutsu to kouyaku wa doko he demo tsuku; “Rationalizing and ointment will stick anywhere.”) Definition: People can come up with rationalizations for almost anything. The ideal of reason is a rigorous search for the truth no … Continue reading

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Does it flip when you’re old?

少年老い易く学成り難し (Shounen oiyasuku gaku narigatashi; “For a youth to age is easy, and to become a scholar is hard”) Definition: People should study hard when they’re young, because time is precious and fleeting. When you’re young you feel like you … Continue reading

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The other big one is wearing socks on hardwood floors

生兵法は大怪我の基 (Namabyouhou wa ookega no moto; “Green soldiering leads to great harm”) Definition: To do things with an incomplete or half-baked set of knowledge or skills is to invite failure. “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep.” Going … Continue reading

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Yoko ni nattara?

蟷螂の斧 (Tourou no ono; “The mantis’ axe”) Definition: The weak standing up to the strong, often with the implication that they didn’t really think through how great the difference in strength would be. A praying mantis that senses threat will … Continue reading

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But what if your horse leaks intel to the Russians?

What do you do when the work environment at the stable drives away all the competent grooms? 蹴る馬も乗り手次第 (Keru uma mo norite shidai; “A kicking horse depends on the rider”) Definition: Even a violent, difficult-to-handle person can be talked to … Continue reading

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