Category Archives: Kotowaza

Out of mouth, out of mind

喉元過ぎれば熱さを忘れる (Nodomoto sugireba atsusa wo wasureru; “To forget the heat after swallowing”) Definition: No matter how painful a situation was, the pain – or alternately, the debts owed to people who helped out when times were bad – are quickly … Continue reading

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A sinister retirement package

If you’re a lefty, do you substitute in 右? 左団扇で暮らす (Hidari uchiwa de kurasu; “Living with a fan in your left hand”) Definition: Living a life of ease and relaxation. A lifestyle without stress or worry. The image invoked is … Continue reading

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Pure of heart,

worse than a fart. 水清ければ魚棲まず (Mizu kiyokereba uo sumazu; “If the water is pure fish don’t live there.”) Definition: If you’re too serious and straitlaced, then instead of loving you and wanting to be close to you, people will keep … Continue reading

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Not looking for a catspaw, but…

Any hand in a storm. 猫の手も借りたい (Neko no te mo karitai; “Wanting to borrow even a cat’s hand”) Definition: Being so extremely busy that one is willing to accept help from anyone at all. So busy that any helping hand … Continue reading

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In which a biographer is like a taxidermist

Maybe an Uberdermist, these days. 虎は死して皮を留め人は死して名を残す (Tora wa shi shite kawa wo todome hito wa shi shite na wo nokosu; “A tiger dies and leaves a skin, a person dies and leaves a name”) Definition: Live well. Live so that … Continue reading

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An all-new take on the ant and the grasshopper

大の虫を生かして小の虫を殺す (Dai no mushi wo ikashite shou no mushi wo korosu; “Let the large bug live, and kill the small”) Definition: Sacrificing small considerations so that the large may survive. Cutting off a part so that the whole may live, … Continue reading

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Paradox!

See also 急がば回れ 負けるが勝ち (Makeru ga kachi; “Losing is winning.”) Definition: No, this isn’t some Orwellian doublespeak. It means that there are times when granting your opponent a win can be advantageous for you in the long run. Avoiding conflict … Continue reading

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