Category Archives: Kotowaza

When the cover-up actually is worse than the crime

李下に冠を正さず (Rika ni kanmuri wo tadasazu; “Don’t straighten your hat below a plum tree”) Definition: Don’t do things that invite suspicion or misunderstanding. Even if you’re innocent, it’s best to avoid even the accidental appearance of guilt. If you reach … Continue reading

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Out of rain, out of brain

雨晴れて笠を忘れる (Ame harete kasa wo wasureru; “The rain stops and you forget your umbrella (hat)”) Definition: As soon as a painful situation is over, the help one received is forgotten. When rain is threatening or falling people make sure to … Continue reading

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Hitting the Wong target by accident?

That title feels extra obscure even though I totally explain it below. Weird. 草を打って蛇を驚かす (Kusa wo utte hebi wo odorokasu; “Strike the grass, surprise a snake”) Definition: An innocent or unthinking action that draws unintended, usually bad, consequences. Like idly … Continue reading

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Like how Chelm was created, but almost entirely different

堪忍袋の緒が切れる (Kanninbukuro no o ga kireru; “The string on one’s bag of patience breaks”) Definition: Someone reaches the end of their patience and explodes. Running out of one’s ability to hold back and put up with something, especially after suppressing … Continue reading

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Sham shyness, ferocious fleeing?

In like a lamb, out like a lion 始めは処女の如く後は脱兎の如し (Hajime wa shojo no gotoku nochi wa datto no gotoshi; “The beginning is like a virgin, after is like a running hare”) Definition: A battle strategy that begins with a show … Continue reading

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Hearing is dreaming, seeing is believing?

Speech is silver, experience is lead 聞いて極楽見て地獄 (Kiite gokuraku mite jigoku; “Hearing is heaven, seeing is hell”) Definition: When you only hear about something second-hand it may sound amazing, but experiencing it personally is another matter. Use this saying in … Continue reading

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Why say good-bye

Hello, hello? ああ言えばこう言う (Aa ieba kou iu; “If (I) say this, (you) say that.”) Definition: Quibbling and back-talk. Arguing for the sake of arguing. No matter what advice or instruction one person gives, the other objects to as much of … Continue reading

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