Tag Archives: Iroha karuta

Even super-firm

豆腐に鎹(Toufu ni kasugai;“A wood-clamp in tofu”) Definition: Attempting something that’s guaranteed to produce no meaningful response or results. An utterly ineffectual action, like using a construction-strength fastener on an ultra-soft material like tofu. Like talking to a brick wall, or … Continue reading

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A Scandanavian problem

惚れたが因果(Horeta ga inga;“The lover’s lot is karma”) Definition: For someone who has fallen in love, suffering because of it is an unavoidable part of human existence. When one is in love, pain is an inevitable result – in part due … Continue reading

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Why the rich have a limited point of view

針の穴から天を覗く(Hari no ana kara ten wo nozoku;“To peer at the heavens through the eye of a needle”) Definition: Attempting to solve big, complicated problems or deal with issues requiring expertise, despite only having a small supply of knowledge. Trying to … Continue reading

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All ties weird and wonderful

A red thread binds them all? 縁は異なもの味なもの (En wa i na mono aji na mono; “A relationship is a strange thing, a wondrous thing”) Definition: The ties that bind two people together are mysterious, inexplicable, and often pleasantly weird. This … Continue reading

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Forget little spoon; do you want to be the lid?

割れ鍋に綴じ蓋 (Warenabe ni tojibuta; “A mended lid on a cracked pot”) Definition: Everybody has their match; no matter how out-of-place a person may feel, there is someone out there who would make a good spouse, friend, or other sort of … Continue reading

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When the bones are bad

…the rest is needed 骨折り損の草臥れ儲け (Honeori zon no kutabire mouke; “Bone-breaking loss and a profit of weariness”) Definition: Working hard without any reward. Bone-breaking labor with no fruits but exhaustion. A wasted effort or thankless task. Breakdown: It turns out … Continue reading

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Kenshi’s gambit

背に腹は代えられぬ (Se ni hara wa kaerarenu; “The belly can’t take the place of the back”) Definition: If something is vitally important, than other things may need to be sacrificed on its behalf, even if they are also important in their … Continue reading

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Like an agate in the rough?

Or gold, silver, seashell, pearl, carnelian… 瑠璃も玻璃も照らせば光る (Ruri mo hari mo teraseba hikaru; “Lapis and quartz both shine if illuminated”) Definition: People of good character or exceptional ability will stand out and reveal their worth no matter where they go … 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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Paul Ryan’s next plan for American health care

Nah, it would still cost rich people a bit of money. 二階から目薬 (Nikai kara megusuri; “Eye medicine from the second floor”) Definition: A frustrating situation where things don’t go as you want. Alternately, a roundabout way of doing things that … Continue reading

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