Category Archives: Kotowaza

Just avoid immovable objects

…and you’ll be fine. Right? 断じて行えば鬼神も之を避く (Danjite okonaeba kishin mo kore wo saku; “If you do things decisively, even demon-gods will get out of the way”) Definition: If you take decisive action backed by strong determination, there is little that … Continue reading

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The opposite of charmed

引かれ者の小唄 (Hikaremono no kouta; “The ballad of someone being pulled along”) Definition: Putting on a brave face in the face of despair; refusing to admit defeat in a seemingly impossible situation; defiant confidence against overwhelming odds. Like someone condemned for … Continue reading

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And now you understand 90% of every samurai movie

武士は食わねど高楊枝 (Bushi wa kuwanedo takayouji; “Even a warrior who hasn’t eaten uses a toothpick”) Definition: A destitute warrior who hasn’t eaten nonetheless acting like they have, in order to avoid revealing weakness to any potential enemies. By extension, putting on … Continue reading

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But does a triple thing happen five times?

1123581321345589? 二度あることは三度ある (Nido aru koto wa sando aru; “Something that happens twice, happens three times”) Definition: Things tend to repeat. If something has happened before, especially more than once, then it should be assumed that it can and will happen … Continue reading

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When in doubt, carry a jackhammer

石橋を叩いて渡る (Ishibashi wo tataite wataru; “Striking a stone bridge and crossing”) Definition: Doubling and redoubling one’s precautions. Being extremely careful, especially in terms of safety. Like someone who comes to a sturdy stone bridge and still takes the time to … Continue reading

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Ah, ha, ha, ha, activity seeds, activity seeds

Whether you’re a mother or whether you’re a brother, activity seeds, activity seeds. 命あっての物種 (Inochi atte no monodane; “Stuff you can do thanks to being alive”) Definition: Anything is possible if – and only if – you are actually alive … Continue reading

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Harding ain’t that easy

そうは問屋が卸さない (Sou wa tonya ga orosanai; “Wholesalers don’t give that kind of discount”) Definition: Things won’t go the way you want. Things aren’t going to be as easy as you expect. A line that you give people when they expect … Continue reading

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