Tag Archives: Iroha karuta

Hearing is dreaming, seeing is believing?

Speech is silver, experience is lead 聞いて極楽見て地獄 (Kiite gokuraku mite jigoku; “Hearing is heaven, seeing is hell”) Definition: When you only hear about something second-hand it may sound amazing, but experiencing it personally is another matter. Use this saying in … Continue reading

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Out of mouth, out of mind

喉元過ぎれば熱さを忘れる (Nodomoto sugireba atsusa wo wasureru; “To forget the heat after swallowing”) Definition: No matter how painful a situation was, the pain – or alternately, the debts owed to people who helped out when times were bad – are quickly … Continue reading

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Paradox!

See also 急がば回れ 負けるが勝ち (Makeru ga kachi; “Losing is winning.”) Definition: No, this isn’t some Orwellian doublespeak. It means that there are times when granting your opponent a win can be advantageous for you in the long run. Avoiding conflict … Continue reading

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You can try it if you’d like, but…

Before you entrust an important job to someone with zero experience, maybe make sure the stakes aren’t too high. 習わぬ経は読めぬ (Narawanu kyou wa yomenu; “You can’t recite a Buddhist sutra you’ve never studied.”) Definition: Complicated tasks are impossible to perform … Continue reading

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The fruit of corruption

As opposed to 湯から出た錆? 身から出た錆 (Mi kara deta sabi; “Tarnished from within.”) Definition: Suffering due to one’s own misdeeds, especially the bad things one has done to others. Paying for one’s mistakes; getting one’s just deserts. The image here is … 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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You’ve got to really “stick” it in?

連木で腹を切る (Rengi de hara wo kiru; “To cut one’s belly with a wooden pestle”) Definition: An impossible event or task. By extension, attempting to achieve the impossible. Attempting a task that is as daunting as slicing one’s belly open with … Continue reading

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