Category Archives: Kotowaza

Hey, simulation!

麻の中の蓬 (Asa no naka no yomogi; “Mugwort amongst hemp”) Definition: If you spend time with good people you’ll be influenced and inspired by them, and become a better person yourself. This is the positive-oriented counterpart to last week’s 朱に交われば赤くなる. The … Continue reading

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When birds make you of a feather

Any reference to communism exist solely in the mind of the reader 朱に交われば赤くなる (Shu ni majiwareba akaku naru; “Who associates with vermilion will turn red”) Definition: People change to match their environments, for better or for worse. You grow to … Continue reading

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But humans turn to face our predators

苛政は虎よりも猛し (Kasei wa tora yori mo takeshi; “A cruel government is more terrible than a tiger”) Definition: The harm done by bad governance is worse than that done by a ravenous tiger. People fear wild nature, but often it poses … Continue reading

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Don’t work for the man, man

Rarely truer than now すまじきものは宮仕え (Sumajiki mono wa miya-dzukae; “The thing one mustn’t do is serve at court”) Definition: If possible, it’s best not to let yourself be used by other people. It’s best to be your own boss instead … Continue reading

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Birds of any feather care for kids together

Don’t be the kind of sordid villain that drives parents to this level of protective sacrifice. Don’t allow that kind of villain to hold any power over others. Think of the children. 焼け野の雉子夜の鶴 (Yakeno no kigisu yoru no tsuru; “The … Continue reading

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Nor trying at plying

All the songless birds can fly, though 鳴かず飛ばず (Nakazu tobazu; “Nor crying nor flying”) Definition: Quietly waiting one’s chance. Doing nothing for a long time, but with the specific intention of taking action as soon as the opportunity finally comes. … Continue reading

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Waft your way to a win?

身を捨ててこそ浮かぶ瀬もあれ (Mi wo sutete koso ukabu se mo are; “There are rivers that you cross by throwing away your body”) Definition: Sometimes facing danger head-on is the only way to escape it. There are times when you need to be … Continue reading

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