Tag Archives: Iroha karuta

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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The sunny ant of the high seas

待てば海路の日和あり (Mateba kairo no hiyori ari; “If you wait, there will be ideal weather on the sea-routes”) Definition: Good things come to those who wait. Do your best to endure when things are bad, because they will get better. Even … Continue reading

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Cheap is dear, but deer don’t cheep

For those counting, this is the 200th kotowaza! To celebrate, we’re… doing nothing special! 安物買いの銭失い (Yasumonogai no zeniushinai; “Losing money by buying cheap”) Definition: Especially cheap things tend to be poorly made; they fail to perform their functions properly, or … Continue reading

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