Category Archives: Japanese

‘Tis the season

…and the age. 私利私欲 shi.ri.shi.yoku Literally: me/private – benefit/profit – me/private – desire/greed Alternately: One’s own profit; one’s own greed. The self-centered attitude or behavior of someone who is motivated by avarice over all else. Notes: 欲 may also be … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When True Seeing exfoliates

化けの皮が剥がれる (Bake no kawa ga hagareru; “The changeling skin is stripped away”) Definition: Someone’s wrongdoings, flaws, or malicious true nature come to light. A previously-hidden, negative truth is revealed. Someone (or everyone) realizes how bad a situation actually is after … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A stitch in time of crisis

一罰百戒 ichi.batsu.hya-.kkai Literally: one – punishment – hundred – warnings Alternately: Making an example of someone. Meting out a punishment not just so one wrongdoer faces consequences, but also so that anyone else considering the same crime is forced to … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The hobbit of peppers

山椒は小粒でもぴりりと辛い (Sanshou wa kotsubu de mo piriri to karai; “Japanese peppers are small but painfully spicy”) Definition: This saying metaphorically describes someone who is physically small, but still formidable due to well-honed talents and a fierce spirit, surprising strength, or … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What about Stitch Seizen?

理路整然 ri.ro.sei.zen Literally: logic/truth – road – organize – “in that way” Alternately: Of someone’s thoughts or speech: coherent, cogent, rational; following a coherent thread or throughline from premise to conclusion. The nuance in modern usage seems to be of … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes the baby poops when you want to nap

月に叢雲花に風 (Tsuki ni murakumo hana ni kaze; “clouds to the moon; wind to the flower”) Definition: Good things are all too vulnerable to disruptions. The moon is covered by clouds; flower petals are scattered by the wind; what you thought … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Debate Club has fewer rules than Fight Club

喧々諤々 ken.ken.gaku.gaku Literally: noisy – [doubling mark] – outspoken – [doubling mark] Alternately: A furious uproar; large numbers of people voicing their opinion without restraint or consideration for others. Notes: Naturally, this may be written with repeated characters instead of … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment