Category Archives: Kotowaza

Wer anderen eine Grube gräbt

fällt zusammen hinein? 人を呪わば穴二つ (Hito wo norowaba ana futatsu; “If you place a curse, [dig] two holes”) Definition: If you try to harm others, harm will come (back) to you. More literally, if you curse someone to death, their dying … Continue reading

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Has, shoots, and leaves

雨後の筍 (Ugo no takenoko; “Bamboo shoots after the rain”) Definition: The same thing, or similar things, popping up one after another. Repetition. Recurrence. Like a profusion of bamboo shoots sprouting after the rain. Like mushrooms after the rain, in Western … Continue reading

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Paul Ryan’s next plan for American health care

Nah, it would still cost rich people a bit of money. 二階から目薬 (Nikai kara megusuri; “Eye medicine from the second floor”) Definition: A frustrating situation where things don’t go as you want. Alternately, a roundabout way of doing things that … Continue reading

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Where the money may be sticky

…but where it doesn’t stick 悪銭身に付かず (Akusen mi ni tsukazu; “Ill-gotten money doesn’t stick with you”) Definition: Money acquired by means other than honest work is often spent quickly on trivial things. Easy money is easy come, easy go. People … Continue reading

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When the juice hits your eye like a tiny pizza-pie…

…that’s-a karma 天に向かって唾を吐く (Ten ni mukatte tsuba wo haku; “To face the heavens and spit”) Definition: To attempt to harm others is to invite misfortune on yourself. What goes around, comes around. If you try to dirty the sky by … Continue reading

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A useful skill for adulting

It’s easy, there’s a trick to it. 心頭を滅却すれば火もまた涼し (Shintou wo mekkyaku sureba hi mo mata suzushi; “When you empty your mind, even fire is cool.”) Definition: The Buddhist teaching than any kind of pain or hardship can be endured with … Continue reading

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Can’t squeeze water from a boiling stone

焼け石に水 (Yakeishi ni mizu; “Water on a hot stone”) Definition: A situation where you shouldn’t expect much. A drop in the bucket. A negligible amount of aid or effort, like a little splash of water against a hot stone, which … Continue reading

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