Tag Archives: Chinese Antiquity

Greetings from a distant riverside

If only the poets of Chinese Antiquity had had video chat, right? 渭樹江雲i.ju.kou.un Literally: Wei river – tree – large river – cloud Alternately: To miss, to think fondly of, or to worry about a friend who is far away. … Continue reading

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You and I, wacky together

Armpit noises??? 用和為貴you.wa.i.ki Literally: (to) use – harmony – do – valued Alternately: A statement that the most important thing is good relations between people. One should cherish positive interpersonal relations in all of society. Notes: This one is in … Continue reading

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Under the bushel you go, light!

Reading doujinshi for the Buddha’s sake. 和光同塵wa.kou.dou.jin Literally: harmony – light – same – dust Alternately: An especially wise or talented person hiding their abilities (often through self-effacement) and living a common life among the common people. In a Buddhist … Continue reading

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Weighed in the balance and found offering

論功行賞ron.kou.kou.shou Literally: discourse – achievement – conduct – reward Alternately: Awarding honors, prizes, or praise based on someone’s work and achievements. The meritocratic ideal. Notes: This phrase comes to us from the “Book of Wei” in the Records of the … Continue reading

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All in one basket, no less

累卵の危うき(Ruiran no ayauki;“The peril of a pile of eggs”) Definition: An especially unstable and dangerous situation. Potential downfall and ruin. Breakdown: We begin with the compound noun 累卵 (ruiran), literally a “pile of eggs.” This is joined by the associative … Continue reading

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From Abe no Seimei to Naruto

And everything in between 陰陽五行in.you.go.gyou Literally: shadow / yin – sunlight / yang – five – go Alternately: The dual principles of yin and yang, and the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water), that supposedly form and regulate … Continue reading

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Mooning over those who are absent

風月玄度fuu.getsu.gen.taku Literally: wind – moon – (mysterious) – (degree) Alternately: Thinking of someone you haven’t seen in a long time; missing a good friend due to long separation. By extension, thinking about or even mourning the death of someone exceptional. … Continue reading

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A shot, but not in the dark

Completely ignoring the phantom dog (Today I got my second covid vaccine! “Injection” in Japanese is 注射, chuusha, so please enjoy this four-character compound containing 射.) 射石飲羽sha.seki.in.u Literally: shoot – stone – drink – feather Alternately: If you throw yourself … Continue reading

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Seven is just the beginning!

子子孫孫shi.shi.son.son Literally: child – child – grandchild – grandchild Alternately: One’s children and grandchildren; one’s descendants; posterity; until the end of history. Notes: Each repeated character may be written with the repetition mark 々; the second 孫 (in either form) … Continue reading

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A lance where your chin should be

枕戈待旦 chin.ka.tai.tan Literally: pillow – “spear”* – wait – sunrise Alternately: Always ready to give battle. Never dropping your guard or slacking off from necessary preparations. “Sleeping with a weapon as your pillow, awaiting the break of dawn.” Notes: This … Continue reading

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