Category Archives: Japanese

An iceberg… of detergent

潜在意識 sen.zai.i.shiki Literally: submerge – exist – mind – know Alternately: Subconscious. This modern compound comprises 潜在, “dormancy,” and 意識, “awareness,” and stands in contrast to terms such as 前意識 (zenishiki, “preconscious”) or 無意識 (muishiki, “unconscious”). Notes: I have nothing … Continue reading

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Ready to go, but never to return

傘と提灯は戻らぬつもりで貸せ (Kasa to chouchin wa modoranu tsumori de kase; “Lend umbrellas and lanterns with the awareness that they will not return”) Definition: People are forgetful. Human nature being what it is, there are certain things that you should expect, such … Continue reading

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Consider the lotus of the pond

It toils and spins SO HARD 難行苦行 nan.gyou.ku.gyou Literally: difficult – go / undertaking – suffering – go / undertaking Alternately: Extreme difficulties or suffering. In particular, this describes when someone is enduring privation and hardship as part of (Buddhist) … Continue reading

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If the cattle are horny, you shouldn’t care if they’re straight

角を矯めて牛を殺す (Tsuno wo tamete ushi wo korosu; “Straightening the horns, killing the cow”) Definition: A situation where trying to fix a small problem ruins the whole thing. The cure being worse than the disease. Hammering and pulling on a cow’s … Continue reading

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Like yourself; like Mt. Tai

泰然自若 tai.zen.ji.jaku Literally: calm – “sort of thing” – self – (young) / similar Alternately: Unflappable. Calm and self-controlled. Notes: This is another compound of synonymous compounds; 泰然 means “composed; unmoved,” while 自若 means “self-possessed.” This yojijukugo has a number … Continue reading

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The audacity of crime

盗人猛猛しい (Nusubito takedakeshii; “An impudent thief”) Definition: Remaining calm and self-assured even when doing something wrong. Alternately, when you get caught doing something wrong, acting defiant or even becoming aggressive toward the person who caught you, instead of being properly … Continue reading

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Pull your sheep, a good life to keep

牽羊悔亡 ken.you.kai.bou Literally: pull / lead – sheep – regret – perish Alternately: You’ll be unhappy unless you take an active part in shaping things. If you see something through properly instead of just letting it run its natural course, … Continue reading

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