Category Archives: Kotowaza

Birds, bugs and beasts; weeds, trees, and flowers

鳥 虫 けもの、臭き花? 草木も眠る丑三つ時 (Kusaki mo nemuru ushi mitsu doki; “In the dead night, when even the grass and trees sleep”) Definition: A phrase describing the hushed, eerie early-morning hours. The dead of night. A time so late that not only people … Continue reading

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Men, said the Devil

…They don’t want to mend their own ways, but each other’s* 六国を滅ぼす者は六国なり (Rikkoku wo horobosu mono wa rikkoku nari; “The one who destroys the six countries, is the six countries”) Definition: When a nation falls, it usually isn’t ultimately due … Continue reading

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When you hand-ear a neck

(Yes, 取 supposedly means “take” because it refers to taking a defeated enemy’s ear as a trophy in battle. So… appropriate?) 鬼の首を取ったよう (Oni no kubi wo totta you; “As if having taken an oni’s head”) Definition: Triumphant or boastful, especially … Continue reading

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Still buff from all that weeping

The Romantic ideal? 泣く子は育つ (Naku ko wa sodatsu; “The child who cries, grows”) Definition: A baby that cries loud and often is a healthy one that will grow well. A strong cry is evidence of good health. Presumably this is … Continue reading

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Not the same chamberpot, though

同じ釜の飯を食う (Onaji kama no meshi wo kuu; “To eat rice from the same pot”) Definition: Leading the same lifestyle together and working together; going through good times and bad together; being extremely close friends. An intimate, familial sense of closeness … Continue reading

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Yertle take note

雁が飛べば石亀も地団駄 (Gan ga tobeba ishigame mo jidanda; “When the goose flies, the turtle stamps”) Definition: To try to mimic someone else without any understanding of one’s own limitations. Like a turtle who sees a goose taking off in flight, tries … Continue reading

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If you eggplant, it will call

ナスなら鳴る 為せば成る (Naseba naru; “If you do it, it will happen.”) Definition: A person can do anything if they really put their mind to it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The only way to get a thing done … Continue reading

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