Tag Archives: Iroha karuta

Suddenly, given the bird

Imagine if it did just literally “stand up,” though! 足下から鳥が立つ(Ashimoto kara tori ga tatsu;“A bird takes flight at one’s feet”) Definition: An expression of startlement. Something happens suddenly close at hand, or someone abruptly begins doing an activity, especially if … Continue reading

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Only a failure to see

–Malcolm Muggeridge 闇夜に鉄砲(Yamiyo ni teppou;“A gun on a dark night”) Definition: Doing things at random without any clear plans or information. Taking shots in the dark without even a target, much less the ability to see and aim at one. … Continue reading

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Actually, don’t put a lid on it

Keep your mouth open and face the music 臭い物に蓋をする(Kusai mono ni futa wo suru;“To put a lid on something stinky”) Definition: Stopgap measures to hide misdeeds, scandal, or other inconvenient realities. The tactic is temporary, but that doesn’t stop some, … Continue reading

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Too hot for a cold reading

“Philosophers / must ultimately find / their true perfection // in knowing all / the follies of mankind / -by introspection.” – Piet Hein, Grooks, “The Ultimate Wisdom.” 陰陽師身の上知らず(On’youji mi no ue shirazu;“The diviner knows not their own fate”) Definition: … Continue reading

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The hammer of kindness

鑿と言えば槌(Nomi to ieba tsuchi;“When [asked for] a chisel, [one also brings a] mallet”) Definition: To be intelligent and thoughtful in all things – as a description, or as an imperative. If someone asks you to bring them a chisel, having … Continue reading

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“Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.”

For better or for worse… or for just vaguely smelly 鰯の頭も信心から(Iwashi no atama mo shinjin kara;“Even a sardine’s head, from faith”) Definition: Faith works in mysterious ways; faith is kind of weird if you stop to think about it. Even … Continue reading

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Out of the wrong, something sweet

嘘から出た実(Uso kara deta makoto;“Truth that came from a lie”) Definition: Something that was said as a lie or joke turns out to be true after all. Note that this applies to coincidences and accidental truths, not “fake it ‘til you … Continue reading

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Thoughtful social distancing

遠慮会釈en.ryo.e.shaku Literally: far – thought – meet – explain Alternately: Holding back and thinking of others; reserve and consideration. Notes: This is a compound of compounds; 遠慮 is “discretion,” “restraint,” and 会釈 is “thoughtfulness (for the sake of others.” These … Continue reading

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Not a typo.

NOT a typo. 馬の耳に風(Muma no mimi ni kaze;“Wind in a horse’s ear”) Definition: Ignoring something somebody has said, especially people’s opinions or criticism that you don’t want to bother with. “In one ear and out the other.” Breakdown: We begin … Continue reading

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There is no rose without its thorns

…and no thorn without its roses? 楽あれば苦あり、苦あれば楽あり(Raku areba ku ari, ku areba raku ari;“When there is ease there is hardship; when there is hardship, there is ease”) Definition: Where there is pleasure, there will also come suffering or toil; where … Continue reading

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