Japanese ProverbsRating Mail
Stumbling seven times but recovering eight.
Meaning - Perseverance is better than defeat.
Note : Equivalent: perseverance is the key.
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(1 Votes)
3 day monk.
Meaning - Someone who gives up easily or is adverse to work.
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Wake from death and return to life
Meaning - To come out of a desperate situation and make a complete return in one sudden burst.
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Gold coins to a cat.
Meaning - Giving a gift to someone who can't appreciate it; A useless gesture; "Pearls before swine."
Note : Background: According to superstition, cats love round, shiny objects like coins even though they're ignorant of their true use, so this proverb also carries the connotation of an objective pursued without completely comprehending it.
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(1 Votes)
A monk for (just) three days.
Meaning - Giving up at the first sign of difficulty.
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Ten men, Ten colors
Meaning - To each his/her own. / Different strokes for different folks.
Note : Note: This is also a pun, since even the character "十" is read in two ways, ju and to.
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Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
Note : Japanese proverb, as quoted in Civilization's Quotations : Life's Ideal (2002) by Richard Alan Krieger, p. 280
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A wise man hears one and understands ten.
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Attempt is sometimes easier than expected.
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An idiot will not be cured(of his idiocy), unless he dies.
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The stake that sticks out gets hammered down.
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The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.
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Greetings are the people who turn up at the right moment.
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Don't let your daughter-in-law eat your autumn eggplants.
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A bad wife spells a hundred years of bad harvest.
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Luck exists in the leftovers.
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If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub.
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Thunderclap from a clear sky.
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Even monkeys fall from trees.
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There are even bugs that eat knotweed.
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A frog in a well does not know the great sea.
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Child of a frog is a frog.
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A kite breeding a hawk.
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Spilt water will not return to the tray.
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One who chases after two hares won't catch even one.
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Perseverance is strength.
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The young monk before the gate can read sutra without studying them.
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Not knowing is Buddha.
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Not seeing is a flower.
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The talented hawk hides its claws
Meaning - A wise man keeps some of his talents in reserve
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Fish to a cat.
Meaning - A situation where one can not let their guard down (because the cat can't resist stealing your fish).
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A prayer in a horse's ear
Note : Equivalent: pearls before swine
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Dumplings over flowers
Meaning - The person to whom it is directed prefers practical gain to aesthetics.
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Let flow in the water
Meaning - Forgive and forget; water under the bridge
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After the rain, earth hardens
Meaning - Adversity builds character./After a storm, things will stand on more solid ground than they did before.
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To sell oil
Meaning - To spend time chitchatting or to waste time in the middle of a task
Note : Background: Comes from Edo period hair oil salesmen who took their time chitchatting with the customers when selling.
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Three years on the rock.
Meaning - It takes a long time sitting on a stone before it becomes warm. Expect to work at something for three years before you see results.
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Dragon, head, snake, tail
Meaning - Anticlimax, the beginning is like a dragons head, great and majestic and the ending is like a snakes tail, tiny and pathetic.
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Clear sky, cultivate, rainy, reading
Meaning - Farm when it's sunny, read when it rains.
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Chu songs on all sides
Meaning - Defeat is clear; Situation is desperate beyond hope.
Note : Source: Xiang Yu, recorded by Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian
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Big similarity, small difference
Meaning - Similarities outweigh the differences.
Note : Source: a shortened passage from Zhuangzi.
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One stone, two birds
Meaning - Killing two birds with one stone; Doing 2 things with one action.
Note : Source: Unknown. No similar line is known in Chinese texts, so this is presumably a translation of the English saying, "Kill two birds with one stone."
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Scattered clouds, disappearing mist
Meaning - Disappear without a trace.
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Pulling water to my own rice paddy
Meaning - Doing/speaking about things in a way to benefit yourself.
Note : Source: unknown, though both Gaden and Insui appear in the Chinese classics. It is presumed to be coined in Japan.
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Summer heater winter fan
Meaning - Something which is out of season and therefore rendered useless.
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One's Act, One's profit/Advantage.
Meaning - That's what you get, Just deserves. You shall reap what you have sown.
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Melon field, under a plum tree
Meaning - Stepping into a melon field, standing under a plum tree (such behavior causes misunderstanding that you want to steal those fruits); implying that you must avoid actions which could be taken on a bad faith.
Note : Source: a shortened passage from a poetry of Cao Zhi
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Flower, Bird, Wind, Moon
Meaning - Experience the beauties of nature, and in doing so learn about yourself.
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(0 Votes)


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