Tag Archives: Japanese

Who knows Snake Road?

蛇の道は蛇 (Ja no michi wa hebi; “Snakes [know] the snakes’ road”) Definition: People who belong to a certain group are the ones who know the most about the ways of that group. Specialists understand other specialists in their field better … Continue reading

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From out of the mouth of me, I grab at thee

喉から手が出る (Nodo kara te ga deru; “A hand comes from the throat”) Definition: To want something very, very much; so much that you can hardly stand it. This imaginative metaphor compares desire to physical appetite, and pictures a hunger so … Continue reading

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All four of them

喜怒哀楽 ki.do.ai.raku Literally: joy – anger – sorrow – ease/pleasure Alternately: Human emotions. The range of human emotions. All of a person’s emotions.

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Frog and more frog

One more kotowaza for the frogs. It’ll be something different next week, I promise. 蛙の子は蛙 (Kaeru no ko wa kaeru; “A frog’s child is a frog”) Definition: “Like father, like son.” “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” The … Continue reading

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Elbow Grease

Midterms. Already? 切磋琢磨 se-.ssa.taku.ma Literally: cut – scrub/rub – strike – polish/scour/grind (or: cut – polish – polish – polish!) Alternately: Diligent effort. Improving oneself through study. Notes: There’s a fuller phrase, 切磋琢磨し合う (sessa-takuma shiau). The shiau part means “to … Continue reading

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Frog, like honey badger, just don’t care

Another frog kotowaza! Because… I don’t know why. Don’t let it bother you. 蛙の面に水 (Kaeru no tsura ni mizu; “Water in a frog’s face”) Definition: Not being bothered by things at all. No matter what happens, keeping one’s composure, or … Continue reading

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Maybe just 85%?

十中八九 ji-.chuu.ha-.kku (or ju-.chuu.ha-.kku) Literally: ten – middle – eight – nine Alternately: Eight or nine out of ten; an 80% – 90% probability; “most likely, X” Notes: This is obviously in the same vein as the previous 九分九厘, and … Continue reading

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