Category Archives: Kotowaza

Green grow the rushes

Oh. 急いては事を仕損じる (Seite wa koto wo shisonjiru; “To hurry is to fail”) Definition: If you rush things you’re going to make mistakes, and your attempt at speed will end up having been in vain. When pressed or pressured, be extra … Continue reading

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Book learnin’ minus brain learnin’ ain’t learnin’

But a rabbit-hole is just as dangerous. 学びて思わざれば則ち罔し (Manabite omowazareba sunawachi kurashi; “Study without consideration is nothing.”) Definition: No matter how much you study, if you don’t also think about the content of what you’re learning, you can’t actually reach … Continue reading

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Rome didn’t fruit in a day

Still faster than truffula trees, though. 桃栗三年柿八年 (Momokuri sannen kaki hachinen; “Peach and chestnut, three years; persimmons, eight years.”) Definition: As Piet Hein said, Things Take Time. The peach and chestnut trees must grow for three years from when they … Continue reading

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A warning

Or a simple observation of facts on the ground? 無理が通れば道理引っ込む (Muri ga tooreba douri hikkomu; “When unreason pushes through, reason withdraws”) Definition: In a society where irrational force carries the day, reasonable thinking breaks down – and justice does as … Continue reading

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So you *can* make a mountain out of a molehill?

後は野となれ山となれ (Ato wa no to nare yama to nare; “After this, come field, come mountain.”) Definition: Not caring about what comes next as long as the current problem or issue can be finished up or taken care of. By extension, … Continue reading

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Udo you, man

独活の大木 (Udo no taiboku; “A large udo tree”) Definition: Of a person, big but good for nothing. An udo plant can grow up to about two meters tall and as thick as some trees, but its flesh isn’t strong or … Continue reading

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Elbow grease begins at home

Be nice to your neighbor, and you’ll attract better neighbors? 先ず隗より始めよ (Mazu Kai yori hajimeyo; “First, start with Guo Wei”) Definition: When starting a large, ambitious undertaking, it’s best to begin with what’s close at hand. By extension, it can … Continue reading

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