Tag Archives: classical Japanese grammar

Does it flip when you’re old?

少年老い易く学成り難し (Shounen oiyasuku gaku narigatashi; “For a youth to age is easy, and to become a scholar is hard”) Definition: People should study hard when they’re young, because time is precious and fleeting. When you’re young you feel like you … Continue reading

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And now you understand 90% of every samurai movie

武士は食わねど高楊枝 (Bushi wa kuwanedo takayouji; “Even a warrior who hasn’t eaten uses a toothpick”) Definition: A destitute warrior who hasn’t eaten nonetheless acting like they have, in order to avoid revealing weakness to any potential enemies. By extension, putting on … Continue reading

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Waft your way to a win?

身を捨ててこそ浮かぶ瀬もあれ (Mi wo sutete koso ukabu se mo are; “There are rivers that you cross by throwing away your body”) Definition: Sometimes facing danger head-on is the only way to escape it. There are times when you need to be … Continue reading

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Yinstring and Yangtwine

禍福は糾える縄の如し (Kafuku wa azanaeru nawa no gotoshi; “Good and ill fortune are entwined like (the strands of) a rope”) Definition: Good luck and bad luck are intimately and inextricably connected; you can’t have only one or the other. Every cloud … Continue reading

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Book learnin’ minus brain learnin’ ain’t learnin’

But a rabbit-hole is just as dangerous. 学びて思わざれば則ち罔し (Manabite omowazareba sunawachi kurashi; “Study without consideration is nothing.”) Definition: No matter how much you study, if you don’t also think about the content of what you’re learning, you can’t actually reach … Continue reading

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Pay it forward…

…until it comes back? 情けは人の為ならず (Nasake wa hito no tame narazu; “Compassion isn’t just for the sake of others”) Definition: Showing pity, mercy, or compassion for others isn’t just a favor you do to them; it’s for your own sake … Continue reading

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As we journey through this world…

…Let’s wear our hearts on sleeves unfurled (I should have written a post in advance, but yesterday was taken up largely by my sister getting married. Today’s kotowaza is in honor of that long-awaited joyous event as well as a … Continue reading

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