Tag Archives: kotowaza

Counterintuitive Countermeasures

This week’s kotowaza was chosen, in part, to further demonstrate the use of the character 以 from Wednesday’s yojijukugo 以心伝心. 毒を以て毒を制する (Doku wo motte doku wo sei suru; “Use poison to control poison.”) Definition: “One poison drives out another.” Sometimes … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breathing Om, like Dogs

阿吽の呼吸 (Aun no kokyuu; “Breathing Ah–Un.”) Definition: Two parties, in a mutual activity, achieving a state of perfect mental, physical, and spiritual harmony. It’s common knowledge that there is a state one can enter when wholly concentrating on some activity, … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not All Bad

Continuing last week’s oni theme: 渡る世間に鬼は無し (Wataru seken ni oni wa nashi; “Across the world, there are no demons.”) Definition: Nobody in the whole world is an oni – i.e. a purely malicious being. “There is kindness to be found … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Strength to the Strong with a Stick

Another selection from the Iroha Karuta: I’ve found a site that has not just the Edo set, but the Kyoto and Osaka sets as well, so expect to see more of these as they catch my fancy. 鬼に金棒 (Oni ni … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Half- …hiding it

Continuing the theme of hiding from last week: 頭隠して尻隠さず (Atama kakushite shiri kakusazu; “Hiding the head, not hiding the butt.”) Definition: This saying refers to a situation where somebody has done something wrong, or has a flaw or failing of … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Talons and Talents

This week’s kotowaza was recommended by a friend. If any of my readers have further suggestions or requests for specific sayings, please feel free to contact me! 能ある鷹は爪を隠す (Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu; “The skilled hawk hides its … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Post that Sticks Out

  出る杭は打たれる (Deru kui wa utareru; “The post that sticks out gets hammered down.”) Definition: It is best to keep one’s head down and not attract too much attention. Someone whose ability stands out will become the target of others’ … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Walk, don’t run, said the tortoise to the hare

Given that my wife gave birth to a healthy boy four days ago, it might seem a little surprising that I’m able to post this. The secret, in this case, is that the post was essentially completely written a week … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Buddha dunno

I said earlier that I wasn’t interested in presenting English sayings that had been translated into Japanese. This one falls close to that category, but sufficiently distinct that I feel it’s worth talking about. 知らぬが仏 (Shiranu ga Hotoke; “Unknowing is … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kuukai Revisited

弘法筆を選ばす (Koubou fude wo erabazu; “Kuukai doesn’t choose his brush.”) Definition: A master produces masterpieces regardless of what they are given to work with. Quality comes from skill, not merely from good tools. If you find yourself unwilling to start … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment