Category Archives: Kotowaza

Much less dramatic than “Takekurabe”

(Higuchi Ichiyou) 団栗の背比べ (Donguri no seikurabe; “A height-measuring contest between acorns”) Definition: A group where none of the members particularly stand out from the rest. A collection of average types. Alternately, a pointless competition between people of no special ability; … Continue reading

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Even the roosters missed the dawn?

Depends on the frogs 春眠暁を覚えず (Shunmin akatsuki wo oboezu; “Spring sleep knows no dawn”) Definition: The air of a night in spring feels good, and the nights themselves are getting shorter, so one ends up sleeping in instead of waking … Continue reading

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AND I WOULD WALK TWO HUNDRED NINETEEN POINT SIX MILES

AND I WOULD WALK TWENTY FOUR POINT FOUR MORE, JUST TO BE THE MAN WHO WALKED A HUNDRED RI TO FALL DOWN AT YOUR DOOOOOOOOOR 百里を行く者は九十里を半ばとす (Hyakuri wo iku mono wa kujuuri wo nakaba to su; “To one traveling a … Continue reading

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You want me to shave *what*?

Ohhh, it’s a metaphor. (My deepest apologies to my readers! On Sunday, in place of the regularly-scheduled kotowaza, I instead posted a song as a joke. At the time I promised that the real thing – which had already been almost … Continue reading

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We have to try!

Puffer-fish lined up (Boy, if you got that one, massive points. You win.) (出ん出らりゅうば出て来るばってん 出ん出られんけん出て来んけん 来ん来られんけん来られられんけん 来ん来ん; “If it’s the case that if it tries to come out then it will be able to come, then it will come out, … Continue reading

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Yinstring and Yangtwine

禍福は糾える縄の如し (Kafuku wa azanaeru nawa no gotoshi; “Good and ill fortune are entwined like (the strands of) a rope”) Definition: Good luck and bad luck are intimately and inextricably connected; you can’t have only one or the other. Every cloud … Continue reading

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But what comes from a lyre?

In Rome, a big fire? 噓つきは泥棒の始まり (Usotsuki wa dorobou no hajimari; “A liar is the beginning of a thief”) Definition: Someone who becomes capable of lying glibly will also be able to calmly steal or rob. Lies are the first … Continue reading

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