Category Archives: Kotowaza

The ease of TITO

上げ膳据え膳 (Agezen suezen; “Table-clearing; table-setting”) Definition: Not doing anything; having everything done for one. Can be positive, as when describing the service at a luxury resort, or negative, as when describing a friend or family member who isn’t pulling their … Continue reading

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Save perhaps Eärendil at the Door of Night

送る月日に関守なし (Okuru tsukihi ni sekimori nashi; “Time has no gatekeeper”) Definition: Time passes quickly. There is no guard blocking the paths of months and days, and they cannot be stopped. “Time and tide wait for no one.” Breakdown: We begin … Continue reading

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Making light of parental influence

親の光は七光 (Oya no hikari wa nanahikari; “A parent’s light is seven lights”) Definition: Children benefit from their parents’ fame, fortune, and status. This is less about hereditary succession to a position, or straight-up nepotism, than it is about the fact … Continue reading

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Bear little; bee large

小さく生んで大きく育てる (Chiisaku unde ookiku sodateru; “Birth small; raise large”) Definition: It’s wise to bear a small child and then raise it large. A small baby tends to mean an easier birth, and a child who grows well tends to be … Continue reading

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Like chopping radishes with Excalibur

大根を正宗で切る (Daikon wo Masamune de kiru; “To cut a daikon with a Masamune”) Definition: Overkill. Bringing force, talent, or material to a job or problem far in excess of what is actually needed; often, assigning a task to someone who … Continue reading

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How about when elephants fight?

疾風に勁草を知る (Shippuu ni keisou wo shiru; “In strong wind one learns of the strong grasses”) Definition: It is only after personally encountering hardships or trials that one truly understands the character and value of people who have already withstood those … Continue reading

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I met a traveller from an antique land

朝顔の花一時 (Asagao no hana hitotoki; “The morning glory flower, a single moment”) Definition: Something’s peak or prime only lasts for a short time. Decline and entropy are all too easy. Like the morning glory flower that blooms at dawn and … Continue reading

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