Category Archives: Japanese

Great at everything but dancing

八面六臂 hachi.men.ro-.ppi Literally: eight – face – six – elbow Alternately: Active in a variety of areas, usually with incredible energy and results. One person doing the work of several. As productive as if having eight heads and six arms. … 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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Zen and the art of shining a footlight

脚下照顧 kya-.kka.shou.ko Literally: leg – below – illuminate – look back Alternately: Make time to look within. More literally, “make sure to look carefully under your own feet.” 照顧 is a Zen Buddhist term for consideration, reflection, introspection. This is … Continue reading

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はは は

子を持って知る親の恩 (Ko wo motte shiru oya no on; “The kindness of a parent, which you realize when you have a child”) Definition: Raising kids is hard. But as with most difficult tasks, most people don’t realize the exact amount of … Continue reading

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Not a photographic memory, but a typeset one

博覧強記 haku.ran.kyou.ki Literally: acclaimed – see – strong – scribe Alternately: Widely-read and remembering much. Having a vast supply of knowledge, thanks to extensive study and good recall. Notes: This compound comes to us from the Han shi waizhuan (韓詩外伝, … Continue reading

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Maybe they should make salmon streamers

鯉の滝登り (Koi no takinobori; “A carp climbing a waterfall”) Definition: Spectacular success in life. A person being as successful in society or career – in “the world” – as a carp that manages to overcome rapids and waterfalls in its … Continue reading

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The last refuge of the incompetent

“Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.” – Hannah Arendt 暴虐非道 bou.gyaku.hi.dou Literally: violence – oppress – not – road Alternately: Inhumane cruelty and violence; atrocity and tyranny. By … Continue reading

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