Japanese Kotowaza, Sayings, and Four Letter Words

Japanese proverbs

Animal Proverbs

Japanese proverbs

A list of proverbs involving animals.

一石二鳥 Killing two Birds with one Stone

Japanese proverbs

Transparent

 

一石二鳥
Kill Two Birds with One Stone

一石二鳥
Japanese
いっ せき に ちょう isseki ni chou
Literal
One stone; two birds
English Equivalent
Killing two birds with one stone.
Notes

This is one of the few proverbs that is almost exactly the same as a famous English proverb.

一石 isseki - One stone [The ichi adds a small っ; another common pronunciation for stone is ishi]
二鳥 ni chou - Two birds [an on reading for bird is chou]




Example Sentence


演歌を聞くと、日本の文化に触れながら日本語の勉強ができるので、一石二鳥だ。
enka o kiku to, nihon no bunka ni furenagara nihongo no benkyou ga dekiru node, isseki nichou.
Listening to enka, I learn about Japanese culture and I am able to study Japanese at the same time. I kill two birds with one stone.

 

Vocabulary image

演歌 enka - traditional Japanese popular music style
聞くと kiku to - when listening...
日本の文化 nihon no bunka - Japanese culture
触れながら furenagara - while experiencing; ながら means 'while'
日本語 nihongo - Japanese language
勉強 benkyou - study
日本語の勉強 nihongo no benkyou - studying Japanese
できる dekiru - can; able
ので node - therefore
da - plain form of です; copula

猫に小判 Give a Cat a Gold Coin

Japanese proverbs

Transparent

 

猫に小判
Cast Pearls to a Swine

 

猫に小判
Japanese
ねこ に こばん neko ni koban
Literal
Give money to a cat
English Equivalent
To cast pearls before swine
Notes
猫に neko ni (give) to a cat [に shows direction]; A 小判 koban was an oval gold coin used during the Edo period; 豚に真珠 buta ni shinju Pearls to a pig, from the Bible, is also used often and means basically the same thing.

 


Example Sentence


宝石に興味のない人にダイヤモンドを上げても、猫に小判だ。
houseki ni kyoumi no nai hito ni daiyamondo o agetemo, neko ni koban da.
For someone who has no interest in precious stones, even giving him a diamond would be casting pearls before swine.

 

Vocabulary image

宝石 houseki—precious stones, gems
興味のない人 kyoumi no nai hito—a person not interested in...
ダイヤモンド daiyamondo—diamond
上げても agete mo—even if (you give him a diamond)

猿も木から落ちる Even Monkeys Fall from Trees

Japanese proverbs

Transparent

 

猿も木から落ちる
Even Monkeys fall from Trees

猿も木から落ちる
Japanese
さるも き から おちる saru mo ki kara ochiru
Literal
Even monkeys fall from trees.
English Equivalent
Everyone makes mistakes.
Notes

One of the most famous Japanese proverbs out there!

猿も saru mo - Even a Monkey
木から ki kara - from a tree
落ちる ochiru - to fall


The example sentence (not to be taken too seriously), is more for intermediates:


Example Sentence


猿も木から落ちるというけど、あんなに賢い国語の先生が、「一」という字を間違えたな んて信じられない。
saru mo ki kara ochiru to iu kedo, anna ni kashikoi kokugo no sensei ga, ichi to iu ji o machigaeta nante shijirarenai
As they say, "Even monkeys fall from trees," but for such a brilliant Japanese teacher to mess up such a character is hard to believe.

 

Vocabulary image

猿も saru mo - Even a Monkey
木から ki kara - from a tree
落ちる ochiru - to fall
という to iu - is like a quotation marker
けど kedo - but
あんなに annani- for such a
賢い kashikoi - wise; bright; clever
国語の先生 kokugo no sensei - teacher of Japanese
ichi - one; indisputably the easiest of all kanji
という to iu - is like a quotation marker
ji - character; here meaning Chinese characters
間違えた machigaeta - made a mistake
なんて nante - such as but with a negative emphasis
信じられない shinjirarenai - I can't believe it

Body Part Idioms

Hand Idioms Part I

te

This is the first in a series of Body Part Idioms. Listen to the idiom and then study the example sentence.

Two idoms using the hand


手心を加える
(てごころをくわえる)


use one's discretion; pull one’s punches; take it easy on someone

あいつが卒業試験に合格するなんて、先生が手心を加えたに違いない。

aitsu ga sotsugyoushiken ni goukaku suru nante, sensei ga tegokoro o kuwaeta ni chigainai.
For that bonehead to have passed his graduation exam, the teachers must have looked the other way.

あいつ aitsu—that guy (slang)
卒業試験 sotsugyou shiken—graduation test
合格 goukaku—passing (a test); success
なんて nante—such as… (exclamation)
先生 sensei—teacher
手心 tegokoro—discretion; consideration
加える kuwaeru—to append; to add; to increase
~に違いない ~ni chigainai—without doubt


手鍋さげても
(てなべさげても)


even if it means living in poverty

手鍋さげても、あなたと結婚したい。

tenabe sagetemo, anata to kekkon shitai
Even if it means living in the humblest of cottages (with only a pot and a pan), I want to marry you.

手鍋 te nabe—a pan with a handle
さげても sagetemo—even if (we are) reduced to… [下げる]
あなたと anata to—with you
結婚 kekkon—marry
したい shitai—want to (marry)

Hand Idioms Part II

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Japanese is a language full of fun idioms. Let's explore a few Body Part Idioms using the Hand.

These two idioms are perhaps the most useful 'hand' idioms in Japanese.

Listen to the idiom and then study the example sentence.


手がいっぱい
(てがいっぱい)


to have one's hands full; be up to here (with something); busy

手がいっぱいで、今はなにもできません。

te ga ippai de, ima wa nani mo dekimasen.
My hands are full; I can’t do anything right now.

いっぱい ippai—full; lots
ima—now
なにも nani mo—nothing [ends with negative verb (dekimasen)]
できません dekimasen—can’t do (anything)


手に入れる
(てにいれる)


to obtain; get; come by...

長年ほしかったアンティーク品を手に入れた。

naganen hoshikatta anti-ku hin o te ni ireta.
I got my hands on an antique that I’ve wanted for years.

長年 naganen—a long time; many years
ほしかった hoshikatta—wanted
アンティーク品 anti-ku hin—an antique object
入れた ireta—put something into something

Japanese Idiom 足が棒になる My Dogs are Barking

足が棒になる

  • ashi ga bou ni naru
  • to walk one's legs off; have very sore legs; my dogs are barking
  • Have you ever walked so much your legs feel like boards? Next time that happens, say, "ashi ga bou ni natta."
  • Literally, "legs become staffs." This comes from tired legs getting as stiff as a board.
  • 一日中歩いたので、足が棒になった。
  • ichinichi juu aruita node, ashi ga bou ni natta.
  • I walked all day, and now my legs are as stiff as a board.
Vocabulary
  • 一日 ichi nichi -- one day
  • 一日中 ichinichi juu -- throughout the day [adding 中 chuu or juu adds the meaning of "throughout" or "in the course of...": 一年中 ichinenjuu throughout the year (every day of the year); a common sign on stores that are open throughout the year is: 年中無休 nenjuumukyuu open throughout the year [literally, throughout the year, no resting]; this can be used for space too: 日本中 nihonjuu throughout Japan; 町中 machijuu throughout the town; 学校中 gakkoujuu throughout the school]
  • 歩いた aruita -- walked [past of 歩く aruku to walk]
  • ので node -- because; therefore
  • ashi -- leg
  • ga -- [subject marker]
  • bou -- pole; rod; stick
  • になった ni natta -- became
For more on this idiom, checkout Chiyon's Nihongo no Tamatebako which includes a few more example sentences of this useful idiom.

口が堅い tight-lipped; able to keep a secret

口が堅い

  • kuchi ga katai
  • tight-lipped; able to keep a secret; lips are sealed
  • 彼は、口が堅いので、秘密を話しても大丈夫だ。
  • kare wa, kuchi ga katai node, himitsu wo hanashitemo daijoubu da.
  • He is pretty tight-lipped, so even telling him secrets is fine.
Vocabulary
  • kare - he
  • wa - (the topic marker--sets "Satou" as the main topic of the sentence.)
  • ので node - therefore; because
  • 秘密 himitsu - secret
  • 話しても hanashitemo - even if (you) speak
  • 大丈夫 daijoubu - OK; fine

口が重い be slow to speak; tongue-tied

口が重い

  • kuchi ga omoi
  • to be slow to speak; tongue-tied
  • 佐藤さんは、口が重いので、デート中なにも話しませんでした。
  • satou san wa, kuchi ga omoi node, de-to chuu nani mo hanashimasen deshita.
  • Because Satou is naturally quiet, she didn't say anything during her date.
Vocabulary
  • 佐藤さん satou san - Satou (a common Japanese family name)
  • wa - (the topic marker--sets "Satou" as the main topic of the sentence.)
  • ので node - therefore; because
  • デート中 de-to chuu - during a date
  • なにも nanimo - nothing; not at all
  • 話しませんでした hanashimasen deshita - didn't speak

口を割る to spill the beans

口を割る

  • kuchi wo waru
  • confess; spill the beans; tell all
  • 犯人は、ようやく口を割った。
  • hannin wa, youyaku kuchi wo watta.
  • The criminal finally spilled the beans.
Vocabulary
  • 犯人 hannin - criminal; bad guy
  • wa - (the topic marker--sets "Satou" as the main topic of the sentence.)
  • ようやく youyaku - finally; at last

揚げ足を取る to find fault with someone

揚げ足を取る

  • ageashi o toru
  • to find fault with someone
  • 原田さんは人の揚げ足ばかり取るので、楽しい会話ができない。
  • harada san wa hito no ageashi bakari toru node, tanoshii kaiwa ga dekinai.
  • Since Harada is always making fun of the mistakes of others, it is hard to have a pleasant conversation.
Vocabulary
  • 原田さん harada san - Harada (a common Japanese family name)
  • wa - (the topic marker--sets "Harada" as the main topic of the sentence.)
  • 人の hito no - people's [here it means "other people's"]
  • ばかり bakari - nothing but; always (picking on others)
  • ので node - that being the case; because of
  • 楽しい tanoshii - fun; enjoyable
  • 会話 kaiwa - conversation
  • ga - (the subject marker--sets "an enjoyable conversation" as what can't be done.)
  • できない dekinai - can't; can't be done

腹を割る a heart-to-heart (talk); be frank; tell all [Japanese Idiom]

腹を割る

  • hara wo waru
  • a heart-to-heart (talk); be frank; tell all
  • 今日は、お互いに腹を割って話そう。
  • kyou wa, otagai ni hara wo watte hanasou.
  • Let's sit down for a heart-to-heart today.
Vocabulary
  • 今日 kyou - today
  • wa - (the topic marker--sets "today" as the main topic of the sentence.)
  • お互いに o tagai ni - together; with each other; mutually
  • 腹 hara - belly; stomach
  • 割って watte - cut; cut open
  • 話そう hanasou - let's talk

顎で人を使う To Use People (in an arrogant way) with One's Chin

顎で人を使う To Push Someone Around Literally, "to use people with your chin." Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin. That would just be rude!

Chiyon's nihongo no tamatebako

Chiyon
Lessons by Chiyon

Body Idioms Part I

Chiyon
BODY IDIOMS

 

There are many expressions which use body parts in Japanese. Let's take a look at a few of them.


Bulletin 鼻が高い
(はながたかい)


 

 

This literally means “one’s nose is high”.

 

But this isn't Pinocchio in the fairy tale. ^^; When you are proud of something, you raise your head, you think “ahem!,” and your nose goes up. In English you say "hold your head up high", or if you think someone is overproud, you say they are "snooty". This is the origin of 鼻が高い.

 

鼻が高い means “to be proud of”

 

For example, when you get a good grade on your test:


テストの点が良くて、私は鼻が高いです。

テストのてんがよくて、わたしははながたかいです。

My grade on the test was excellent and I’m proud of myself.

 

And even if it isn't about yourself, you can feel pride. Like, if you have a younger brother who is good at sports:


私の弟は、スポーツ万能なので、鼻が高いです。
わたしのおとうとは、スポーツばんのうなので、はながたかいです。
My brother is an all-around sports player and I’m proud of him.


Bulletin顔が広い
(かおがひろい)

 

This literally means “one’s face is large”.

 


But it doesn't actually mean having a big face.


If you know many people, or you have many relationships in many kinds of fields, you can use this expression.

 

顔が広い means “to know many people”

 


田中さんは、顔が広いので、どこに行っても挨拶ばかりしている。
たなかさんは、かおがひろいので、どこにいってもあいさつばかりしている。
Tanaka san knows a lot of people and he is always being greeted everywhere he goes.

This may seem to mean he is a very sociable person, but 顔が広い and 社交的(しゃこうてき sociable) are not  equal.

 

Some people may be sociable, but they may not have many friends or acquaintances. People who are 顔が広い should know many people, but some might be 顔が広い in that they just have many people whom they know casually from work. Even if acquaintances aren't very close, if there are many, you say 顔が広い.

 

If you have many おともだち on social networks on the internet, you could say you are 顔が広い.

Body Idioms Part II

Chiyon
BODY IDIOMS

 

There are many expressions which use body parts in Japanese. Let's take a look at a few of them.


Bulletin~を尻に敷く
(~をしりにしく)


This literally means “spread ~ under one’s seat and sit on it.”

 

I think “to henpeck” or “to rule” are appropriate translations for 尻に敷く.


彼女はボーイフレンドを尻に敷いている。
かのじょはボーイフレンドをしりにしいている。

She henpecks her boyfriend.  Or  She rules her boyfriend.

 


彼は、細君の尻に敷かれている。

かれは、さいくんのしりにしかれている。
He is controlled by his wife..

This expression is used from women to men. I’ve never heard it used for a man ruling a woman. It happens to couples who are already married or who have a strong relationship between them.


Maybe men are more easily ruled by women? :p


Or are men simply pretending to lose to women~?


Bulletin 腕が鳴る
(うでがなる)



This literally means “one’s arms make sound.”


When you do something requiring physical strength, and you are ready to do it, you might stretch your muscles to warm up your body. That sometimes make sounds and is the situation when you would use this 腕が鳴る.

 

Even if you don’t use your body, if you have something requiring mental ability to do, you are confident you can do it, and you can’t wait to tackle it, you can say 腕が鳴る, too.

 

腕が鳴る means “can’t wait to show one’s skill”

 


町内最強といわれるチームとの対戦に、腕がなる。

ちょうないさいきょうといわれるチームとのたいせんに、うでがなる。
I can’t wait to face the best team in town.

 


一品持ち寄りパーティーに招かれて、料理の得意な彼は腕が鳴った。

いっぴんもちよりパーティーにまねかれて、りょうりのとくいなかれはうでがなった。
When he was invited to the potluck party, since he was good at cooking, he was looking forward to showing off his skill.

Body Idioms Part III

Chiyon
BODY IDIOMS Part II

 

Continuing from last time, let's look at a few more body idioms in Japanese.

・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・

Bulletin足を引っ張る
(あしをひっぱる)

This literally means to “pull (someone’s) leg(s)”.

 

I’ve heard that "to pull one's leg" means “to tease” in English, but that's not the Japanese meaning for this idiom.


When you do something or you don’t do something that slows someone or drags someone down, you say
足を引っ張る”.


私は、リレーで走るのが遅かったので、チームの足を引っ張った。
watashi wa, rire- de hashiru noga osokatta node, chi-mu no ashi o hippatta.

Because I was a slow runner, I caused my team trouble.   

 


私が休むことによって、職場の人たちの足をひっぱりたくない。
watashi ga yasumu koto ni yotte, shokuba no hito tachi no ashi o hipparitakunai.

I don’t want to drag down the people at work by being absent.

I always feel like I’m dragging someone down (誰かの足を引っ張っている ), because I’m always a goof. ^^;

 

 

Bulletin小耳に挟む
(こみみにはさむ)

This literally means to “sandwich something between your small ears”. (like other idioms, you can’t do that actually ^^)


When you happen to overhear something and that information may or may not be accurate, you say 小耳に挟む.

 


彼女が日本へ行くという噂を小耳に挟んだ。

kanojo ga nihon he iku toiu uwasa o komimi ni hasanda.

I happened to overhear the rumor that she is going to Japan.

 


あなたが小耳に挟んだ話は、本当ではない。

anata ga komimi ni hasanda hanashi wa, hontou dewa nai.

The story you overheard isn’t true.

I’ve heard (小耳に挟んだことがある) that the chairman of Toyota, Okuda says "変わろうとしている人の足を引っ張るな。" (Don’t drag someone down who is trying to make changes (for the better)).

Body Idioms Part IV

Chiyon
BODY IDIOMS Part IV

 

And a few more body idioms in Japanese from Chiyon:

・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・

Bulletin耳にたこができる
(みみにたこができる)

This literally means to “have sore ears.”

 

 

I think it is common for parents to have to tell children many, many, many times to clean up their stuff.   Just think of your own childhood--or, maybe I was just an unusual child… ^^;

 

And when these children hear the same thing over and over from their parents, especially when they are being scolded or receiving a lecture, they get an earful and are tired of it. In such a situation, you use this expression.

 


その話は、耳にたこができるほどなんども聞かされた。

sono hanashi wa, mimi ni tako ga dekiru hodo nandomo kikasareta

I heard that for the umpteenth time. 


先生が、うるさく何度も同じことを注意するので、耳にたこができた。

sensei ga, urusaku nando mo onaji koto o chuui suru node, mimi ni tako ga dekita.

I'm sick and tired of my teacher lecturing me over and over.

 

 

 

 

Bulletin足が棒になる
(あしがぼうになる)

This literally means “one’s legs change to sticks.”

 

If you are not used to walking a lot, and suddenly walk for a long time one day, your legs get sore and you feel like you can't take another step. If your legs feel like they are not your own legs anymore, you can say “足が棒になる.”

 


町を一日中散策して、足が棒になった。

machi o ichinichijuu sansaku shite ashi ga bou ni natta.

I strolled around town all day long and I walked my legs off. 

 


足が棒になるほど、歩き回る。

ashi ga bou ni naru hodo, aruki mawaru.

I walk and walk till my legs become like a sticks.

Body Idioms Part V

Chiyon
BODY IDIOMS Part V

 

・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・

Bulletin手の内を明かす
(てのうちをあかす)

This literally means “Clear the inside of your hands.”

 

When you have a secret, it is a secret, so, you don’t want to tell that secret. But you might tell it to a person whom you really trust.  It is in this context we use “手の内を明かす.” It is like opening your hands to show someone something important.

 


真犯人は、ドラマのクライマックスで、殺人計画の手の内を明かした。

shinhannin wa, dorama no kuraimakkusu de, satsujin keikaku no te no uchi o akashita.

The real culprit, at the climax of the drama, gave away his murderous scheme.


手の内を明かせば、彼も理解してくれるはずだ。

te no uchi o akaseba, kare mo rikai shite kureru hazu da.

If you tell him everything, he should also understand.

 

 

 

 

Bulletin胸をなでおろす
(むねをなでおろす)

This literally means “stroke one’s chest from top down.”

 

I think when you have something heavy on your mind, your heart beats fast. And when the problem settles, you feel relieved. You may put your hand on your chest where your heart is and take a deep breath thinking “よかった!” In such a case, you say 「胸をなでおろす」 

 


やっとのことで電車に間に合った私は、胸をなでおろした。

yatto no koto de densha ni ma ni atta watashi wa, mune o nade oroshita.

I was so relieved to finally make it in time for the train.

 


たいした事故もなく、皆、胸をなでおろしたに違いない。

taishita jiko mo naku, minna, mune o nade oroshita ni chigainai.

Everybody must have been relieved that it wasn't a big accident.

Body Idioms Part VI

Chiyon
BODY IDIOMS Part VI

 

・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・

Bulletin目に入れても痛くない
めにいれてもいたくない

This literally means “Even if stuck in my eye, it won't hurt.”

 

When you put something in your eye, it hurts--bad. But if something is cute enough, you wouldn't mind even putting it in your eye to get a closer look.

 


彼は、目に入れても痛くないほど孫娘をかわいがっている。
kare wa, me ni iretemo itakunai hodo magomusume o kawaigatteiru.

He spoils his granddaughter as if she is the center of the world. 


彼女は、その猫を、目の中に入れても痛くないほどの愛情で育ててきた。

kanojo wa, sono neko o, me no naka ni iretemo itakunai hodo no aijou de sodatetekita.

She’s brought up that cat with love as if it was the apple of her eye.

 

 

 

 

Bulletin目を皿(のよう)にする
めをさら(のよう)にする

This literally means “turn one’s eyes into plates.

 

I think when you look at something carefully, you furrow your brow and your eyes look narrow like plates. In such a situation, you can say “目を皿にする” or “ 目を皿のようにする.”

 

The "no you" adds a "seems like" or "almost as if" meaning.

 


目を皿のようにして探したが、ウォーリーを見つけられなかった。

me o sara no you ni shite sagashita ga, wo-ri- o mitsukerarenakatta.

I looked for Wally with my eyes wide open, but I couldn’t find him.

 


目を皿にして見てみたら、キリンビールの缶の麒麟の絵の中には、「キリン」 の文字が隠されていることがわかった。

me o sara ni shite mite mitara, kirin bi-ru no kan no kirin no e no naka ni wa, "kirin" no moji ga kakusareteiru koto ga wakatta.

I opened my eyes wide and looked at it, and I found that the letters ” キリン “ are hidden in the picture of the kylin* on a can of Kirin beer.

 

* kylin (noun) a mythical composite animal, often figured on Chinese and Japanese ceramics.

Iroha Uta いろは歌

Chiyon
About いろはうた

 

Bulletin いろは歌
(いろはうた)

 

An Order of Kana

 

いろは歌 is an old poem said to have been written by 空海(くうかい 774~835)who was a famous Japanese monk in the early 平安時代(Heian Era 794~1185).


It uses each kana only once just like あいうえお, but it is a poem with meaning.

 

In Kana: In Kanji:

いろはにほへと
ちりぬるを
わかよたれそ
つねならむ
うゐのおくやま
けふこえて
あさきゆめみし
ゑひもせす 京(ん)

色は匂へど
散りぬるを
わが世 誰ぞ
常ならむ
宇井(有為)の奥山
今日越えて
浅き夢見し
酔いもせず 京(ん)

 

Because it is an old poem, the way to use the かな is different from now. There are also many rules that are different from modern grammar. 

  • Some don’t have 濁点(゛ - the voiced consonant mark)
  • 匂えど is written as 匂へど
  • ん is written as む
  • きょう is written as けふ
  • 酔いis written as 酔ひ
  • Some old letters are used (like ゐ, ゑ), etc.

 

A breakdown of each sentence, how to read it, and the meaning of it in Japanese and English:

 

Original 「色は匂へど散りぬるを」
(
いろはにおえど ちりぬるを)
Modern Japanese

この世にあるおもしろおかしいことは、美しく咲き、匂う花のようなものだ。なぜならそれは、いつしか散ってしまう(終わってしまうものなのだから)。

English

The colors of the flowers are so beautiful and fragrant--like a person's beauty or the interesting things in this world.

(いろ) here is the color of flowers, but it has also the meaning of the affairs of men and women, or the many events of this world.  These flowers despite their beauty today will disappear. My life is also ephemeral just like these flowers. There are many things I enjoy in my life, but they all have an end.

 

 

Original

「わが世 誰ぞ常ならむ」

(わがよ だれぞ つねならん)

Modern Japanese

私の人生もそれと同じだ。誰が、ずっと同じように変わらずあるものだと言えようか。いや、誰も言えない。いつかは終わってしまうのだ。

English

My life is like that. Who can say it won’t long last forever without change? No, nobody can. It ends at last.

Some says わが世 is "I rule my world" and the author is the one who ruled that era.

 

 

Original

「宇井(有為)の奥山今日越えて」

(ういのおくやま きょうこえて)

Modern Japanese

宇井という名の山奥を今日越えて

English

I pass over the deep mountain called 宇井(うい)in 京都(Kyoto today.

 

He was a 武士(ぶし samurai warrior) and he decided to leave his life as a 武士 to become a monk to go to the temple in 高野山(こうやさん Mt. Koya in Wakayama prefecture). He travels by foot passing over the mountain in Kyoto. He leaves behind the 武士 life because he has an unendurable angst in his life. I don’t know what it was, but I imagine it may have arisen from too much killing, or his love affairs, or the struggle for power within the 武士 system, etc.

 

有為(うい) is also the word which means to wake up to the true reality; to remove from being a slave of mutable matters in our daily life which he compared to flowers. That is to say, to attain enlightenment in Buddhism.

 

So, 'passing that mountain' means, he chose to become a pupil of Buddhism leaving his enjoyable life behind, but having sorrow, too.

 

今日 also rhymes with of 京都.

 

 

Original

「浅き夢見し酔いもせず 京」

(あさきゆめみし よいもせず きょう)

Modern Japanese

有為の奥山を越えて見たが(人生の色々な経験をしてきたが)それは、浅い夢のようなものであり、酔っ払っていたようなものでもある。今は、その夢に酔うようなこともなく、煩悩の火が消えたように、やすらぎや、悟りの境地を感じ、一切のものごとへのこだわりや、とらわれの心がなくなった状態で、京の都を旅立ち、寺の門へと向かう道である。

English

No more shallow dreams; no more wanton drunkeness.

 

I passed over the mountain of life, but it was like having a shallow dream or being drunk. But now that dream no longer intoxicates me anymore. I've cleared up worldly desires, feel peace and the state of enlightenment. I don’t have any concerns about anything at all. I'm on the way from Kyoto toward the gate of the temple.

 

 

It is really difficult to stop being anxious about all desires and greedy feelings in our lives.  But I think he thought on how to accomplish that when making this poem.

 

It is a very short poem, but it contains many ideas. There are more allusions in this poem I found, but I think I’ll write about it next time…..


Inubou Karuta uses the Iroha order, see the Karuta page for translations and audio.

For more information and several more poetic English translations, see the Wikipedia entry.

Comparing 午前 and 午後 with A.M. and P.M.

Chiyon's Nihongo no Tamatebako

 

Comparing 午前 and 午後 with A.M. and P.M.

 

Quick: Is Noon 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.?

 

The 12-hour notation using A.M. and P.M. is common in many parts of the English speaking world.  One o’clock through eleven o’clock in the morning is written as 1 a.m., 2 a.m., etc.  And one o’clock through eleven o’clock in the evening is written as 1 p.m., 2 p.m., etc. 

 

But Midnight is 12 a.m. and Noon is 12 p.m.  Most English speakers simply have this memorized, but for those of us who have trouble keeping this straight, Wikipedia's entry on this subject has this bit of advice:

 

“In the United States, noon is often called ‘12:00 p.m.’ and midnight ‘12:00 a.m.’. With this convention, thinking of ‘12’ as ‘0’ makes the system completely logical.”

 

With that in mind (midnight=0 a.m.), the Japanese way of counting time is easier to understand. 

 

From zero o’clock (midnight) to eleven o’clock in the morning we write

  • Midnight is 午前0時 (ごぜんれいじ)
  • 午前1時(ごぜんいちじ)
  • 午前2時(ごぜんにじ)・・・・・・
  • 午前10時(ごぜんじゅうじ)
  • 午前11時(ごぜんじゅういちじ)
  • And Noon is 午前12時(ごぜんじゅうにじ). 

Government offices or insurance companies in Japan write time this way with Midnight being 午前0時 and noon being 午前12時.

 

However, the media (TV, radio, newspapers, etc) and most people in daily life call noon 午後0時. 

 

Japanese digital clocks show noon as 12:00 p.m.  Following the Japanese style, noon on the clocks really should be 12:00 a.m. or 0:00 p.m. (with 12:00 p.m. being midnight = 午後12時 or 午前0時)

 

We often use 午前・午後 in the same way as the English a.m. and p.m.  This makes our time system confusing.

 

At the moment, 午前12時 seems to be the correct way to indicate noon in Japanese law.

 

Of course it may be best to ignore the problem and cheat a little. In English ‘noon’ or ‘midnight’ makes the intended time clear.  Likewise in Japanese it is best to simply say お昼の12時 for noon and 夜中の12時 for midnight:

 


「お昼の12時に会いましょう。」
「おひるのじゅうにじにあいましょう。」
Let's meet at 12o'clock at noon.

 


「夜中の12時に電話をください。」
「よなかのじゅうにじにでんわをください。」
Please call me at 12 o'clock midnight.

Giogo & Gitaigo

Words that are sounds

あつあつ Lovey-Dovey

Atsu Atsu あつあつ Lovey-Dovey

OK, so "passionate love" would sound better, but the video uses "Lovey-Dovey" and we're sticking with it!

You may want to pause during the breakdown since the video moves a little fast.


あつあつ

atsu atsu
lovey-dovey; head over heels in love

"hot hot" can also be used to describe hot food just out of the oven.

Here is our example sentence:


結婚したばかりのあの二人は、いつもあつあつだ。

kekkon shita bakari no ano futari wa, itsumo atsu atsu da.
Those two newlyweds are always lovey-dovey.

Life Proverbs

Japanese proverbs

A list of proverbs on a way of life.

Clay's Proverbs

CLAY'S PROVERBS
WORDS OF WISDOM
(which may or may not be applicable in the real world)

1. クレイの諺: 「僕の万年床は僕の自慢」
kurei no kotowaza: "boku no mannendoko wa boku no jiman"
Clay's proverb: My unmade bed is my pride.

2. クレイの諺: 「忍者走りをするとき、靴ひもがゆるんでいると悲惨なことを招く」
kurei no kotowaza: "ninjabashiri o suru toki, kutsuhimo ga yurundeiru to hisan na koto o maneku"
Clay's proverb: "When running ninja-style, having loose shoe strings invites misery"

3. クレイの諺: 「確かに刀ははしに勝る」
kurei no kotowaza: tashikani katana wa hashi ni masaru.
Clay's proverb: "Most assuredly, the sword is mightier than the chopsticks."

Japanese Idiom あけすけに言う say something frankly; openly; without reserve

あけすけに言う

  • akesuke ni iu
  • say something frankly; openly; without reserve
  • This idiom is used when someone says something in a blunt manner.
  • "ake" means to begin or dawn; "suke" means to be transpar-ent. Another, and probably the original, usage of "akesuke" is to mean that a gap has opened up, and the other side is visible.
  • あの人は、なんでもあけすけにいう。
  • ano hito wa, nandemo akesuke ni iu.
  • That person always says things frankly.
Vocabulary
  • あの ano -- that... [ano is always followed by the noun it points to: that person]
  • hito -- person
  • wa -- (topic particle) [note: this is written with the hiragana は ha, but is pronounced "wa"]
  • なんでも nandemo -- anything; everything
  • あけすけにいう akesuke ni iu -- to speak frankly [Literally, "frankly speaking"; あけすけ means "honest," "frankly," and "outspoken"; the に indicates the manner of how someone speaks (iu)]

Japanese Idiom 味をしめる Develop a Taste For...

味をしめる

  • aji wo shimeru
  • to develop a taste for...; to be encouraged by initial success
  • A useful example one might hear in a potato chip ad is:
    一度味をしめたらやめられない。
    ichido aji wo shimetara yamerarenai.
    If you try it once, you won't be able to stop.
  • The "aji" means "taste" and "shimeru" probably means, "experience" here. Having tasted something really good, a person comes back to it expecting the same tastiness.
  • 一度ついたうそがばれなかったので、味をしめた彼はうそばかりついている。
  • ichido tsuita uso ga barenakatta node, aji wo shimeta kare wa uso bakari tsuiteiru.
  • He told one lie and got away with it. Having developed a taste for it, he lies all the time now.
Vocabulary
  • 一度 ichido - once
  • ついたうそ tsuita uso - a lie that was told
  • ばれなかった barenakatta - didn't get caught
  • ので node - therefore; that being the case; because of
  • kare - he
  • うそ uso - lie
  • ~ばかり ~bakari - only; always (lying)
  • ついている tsuiteiru - telling (lies)

Japanese Idiom 朝飯前 child's play; cinch; no sweat; piece of cake

朝飯前

  • asa meshi mae
  • child's play; cinch; no sweat; piece of cake
  • This is a fancy way to say, 簡単 kantan--easy.
  • Literally, "before breakfast." Because breakfast is usually one of the first activities of the day, the time before break-fast is short. Only easy things can be accomplished during that time.
  • 小学生の宿題を手伝うなんて、高校生の僕には朝飯前だ。
  • shougakusei no shukudai wo tetsudau nante, koukousei no boku niwa asameshimae da.
  • Helping an elementary school kid with his homework is no sweat for a high schooler like me.
Vocabulary
  • 小学生 shougakusei -- elementary school student [小学校 shougakkou elementary school]
  • no -- (possessive marker)
  • 宿題 shukudai -- homework
  • wo -- (direct object marker)
  • 手伝う tetsudau -- to help
  • なんて nante -- such a thing as [used to emphasize how easy the speaker thinks it is; like an exclamation]
  • 高校生 koukousei -- high school student [高校 koukou high school]
  • no -- (possessive marker)
  • boku -- I; me
  • 高校生の僕 koukousei no boku -- a high school student such as I
  • には ni wa -- as for (a high school student such as I)
  • 朝飯前 asa meshi mae -- piece of cake
  • da -- plain form of desu

Japanese Idiom 穴があったら入りたい to be so ashamed, one wishes to crawl in a hole

穴があったら入りたい

  • ana ga attara hairitai
  • to be so ashamed, one wishes to crawl in a hole
  • This idiom is used whenever someone is extremely embarrassed.
  • Literally, "If there were a hole, I'd like to enter." Also see 顔から火が出る "kao kara hi ga deru" -- burn with shame; be embarrassed.
  • ズボンのおしりが破けていたなんて知らなかった。穴があったら入りたい。
  • zubon no oshiri ga yabuketeita nante shiranakatta. ana ga attara hairitai.
  • I didn't know my pants had a hole in the back; I feel so ashamed.
Vocabulary
  • ズボン zubon -- pants
  • no -- (possessive marker)
  • おしり oshiri -- butt; backend
  • ga -- (subject marker)
  • やぶけていた yabukete ita -- was torn [from 破ける yabukeru to get torn; to wear out]
  • なんて nante -- such a thing as [used to emphasize the speaker didn't know; like an exclamation]
  • 知らなかった shiranakatta -- didn't know
  • ana -- hole
  • ga -- (subject marker)
  • あったら shiranakatta -- if there was...
  • 入りたい hairitai -- (I) want to enter

Japanese Idiom 赤子の手をひねるよう taking candy from a baby

赤子の手をひねるよう

  • akago no te o hineru you
  • something very easy; taking candy from a baby
  • This is used when someone from a position of strength does as he pleases with someone weaker. This is probably most often used with bad guys doing something bad to the weak and defenseless.
  • Literally, "like twisting a child's arm." This idiom seems to have an obvious origin: twisting a small child's arm is not difficult.
  • こんな計算問題を解くのは、赤子の手をひねるようだ。
  • konna keisan-mondai o toku nowa, akago no te o hineru you da.
  • Solving a math problem like this is child's play.
Vocabulary
  • こんな konna -- such a; ...like this
  • 計算問題 keisan mondai -- numerical calculation [計算 = calculation; count + 問題 = problem; question]
  • wo -- (direct object marker)
  • 解く toku -- to solve; to answer
  • のは no wa -- it is ~ that... [this, ending with the copula, indicates some important information is coming. The "no" is an indefinite pronoun that replaces a person, place, or thing. In this case you can think of it as: as for this THING of solving this math problem...]
  • 赤子 akago -- baby
  • ~no -- (possessive)
  • te -- hand
  • ひねる hineru -- to twist; to turn
  • よう you -- just like; like
  • da -- plain form of desu

Kotowaza & Sayings

KOTOWAZA (proverbs) & SAYINGS IN JAPANESE

Today's focus will be on kotowaza (proverbs) and sayings.  There are tons of proverbs and set sayings in Japanese.  Knowing kotowaza will make your Japanese more natural and improve your understanding of the Japanese way of thinking. We will look at 6 sayings and break-them-down to try to understand where it came from. 

CONTENTS:
1. 神出鬼没 shin shutsu ki botsu - to appear & disappear
2. 自画自賛 ji ga ji san - self-praise
3. 猿も木から落ちる。 saru mo ki kara ochiru. - Even monkeys fall from a tree
4. 一石二鳥 isseki ni chou - to kill 2 birds with 1 stone
5. 十人十色 juu nin to iro - different strokes for different folks
6. 壁に耳あり、障子に目あ り kabe ni mimi ari shouji ni me ari - the walls have ears, the paper doors have eyes

MOOD SETTING: imagine a lonesome samurai reciting Shakespeare with a katana in one hand and a book of poetry in the other.

LET'S BEGIN with a difficult, but fun ninja phrase:

#1: 神出鬼没 shin shutsu ki botsu

MEANING: " To appear and disappear like a phantom (unexpected) "

BREAK IT DOWN:

神 shin
(Other readings:  KAMI, JIN)
"God, deity,  of the Supernatural..."
( OTHER: 神様 kami sama - God, 神学 shin gaku - theology

出 shutsu
(Other readings: SHUTSU, DEru, DAsu)
"to come out, to bring out, to go out, out"
( OTHER: 出口 de guchi - exit (door); 出発 shuppatsu - to depart, leave)

NOTE: Usually a 4 kanji combo is two pairs of kanji stuck together.  However,
in this case SHIN SHUTSU by itself isn't used as a word.  But taking the 2 kanji
individually we understand the meaning to be something along the lines of
the supernatural coming out.

鬼 ki
(Other readings: ONI)
"Oni, orge, or some evil creature from Japanese folk lore"
( OTHER: 鬼ごっこ oni gokko - tag game, "You are the Oni!")

没 botsu
"rejection, to sink, to die"

BACK TO TOP

YOU ARE DOING WELL! NEXT...

#2: 自画自賛 ji ga ji san

MEANING: " Every potter praises his own pot (To praise one's own work) "

BREAK IT DOWN:

自 ji
( Other readings: SHI, MIZUKAra)
"oneself, self"
( OTHER: 自分 ji bun - oneself; 自由 ji yuu - freedom, free)

画 ga
( Other readings: KAKU)
"a picture"
( OTHER: 映画 ei ga - movie; 漫画 man ga - manga)

賛 san
"to praise, agree"
( OTHER: 賛美 san bi - praise, adoration)

BACK TO TOP

AND NOW:

#3: 猿も木から落ちる。 saru mo ki kara ochiru.

MEANING: " Even monkeys fall from trees. (Even experts mess up once in a while.) "

BREAK IT DOWN:

猿 saru
( Other readings: en )
"monkey"

も mo = "also, too"

木 ki
( Other readings: MOKU, BOKU)
"tree"
( OTHER: MOKU YOU BI - Thursday)

から kara = "from"

落ちる ochiru
"to fall, drop"

BACK TO TOP

JUST A LITTLE MORE:

#4: 一石二鳥 isseki ni chou

MEANING: " to kill two birds with one stone " lit: " one stone; two birds "

BREAK IT DOWN:

一石 isseki
(This is ICHI with SEKI = ISSEKI (the ICHI is reduced to いっ))
" ichi - one; seki - stone, rock"

二 ni
"two"

鳥 chou
"bird"
( OTHER READINGS: tori )

NOTE: this is the same as the English, to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

BACK TO TOP

#5 : 十人十色 juu nin to iro

MEANING: " different strokes for different folks " lit: " 10 people; 10 colors "

BREAK IT DOWN:

十 juu
"ten"
( OTHER READINGS: to )

人 nin
"people, person"
( OTHER READINGS: hito, jin )

色 iro
"color"
( OTHER READINGS: shoku )

#6 : 壁に耳あり、障子に目あり kabe ni mimi ari shouji ni me ari

MEANING: " the walls have ears, the door have eyes "

BREAK IT DOWN:

壁 kabe
"wall"

耳 mimi
"ear, ears"

障子 shouji
"Japanese paper door"

NOTES:
ni (に) is needed to show position (at the wall; on the door...) 
ari (あり) is a shortened version of arimasu (to exist, to be)

RECAP:

1. 神出鬼没 shin shutsu ki botsu - to appear & disappear
2. 自画自賛 ji ga ji san - self-praise
3. 猿も木から落ちる。 saru mo ki kara ochiru. - Even monkeys fall from a tree
4. 一石二鳥 isseki ni chou - to kill 2 birds with 1 stone
5. 十人十色 juu nin to iro - different strokes for different folks
6. 壁に耳あり、障子に目あり kabe ni mimi ari shouji ni me ari  - the walls have ears, the doors have eyes

Three Japanese Proverbs about Food

Three Japanese proverbs about food: 花より団子 Hana yori dango - Food over Flowers 絵に描いた餅 E ni Kaita Mochi - Can't eat a painted cake 武士はくわねど高楊枝 Bushi wa kuwanedo taka youji - Even if a samurai hasn't eaten he holds his toothpick high.

口は災いのもと The Mouth is the Origin of Disasters

Japanese proverbs

Transparent

 

口は災いのもと
(or 口は禍のもと)
The mouth is the origin of disasters

口は禍のもと
Japanese
くち は わざわい の もと kuchi wa wazawai no moto
Literal
The mouth is the origin of disasters.
English Equivalent
The mouth is the gate of misfortune.
Notes

A quick Google search seems to give 災い a lead over 禍, but it appears both are in usage with this proverb.




Example Sentence


口は禍のもとだから、噂話はやめたほうがいい。
kuchi wa wazawai no moto dakara uwasa banashi wa yameta hou ga ii.
The mouth is the origin of disasters, therefore you should stop gossiping.

 

Vocabulary image

kuchi - mouth
wa - (topic particle)
wazawai - calamity; disaster; catastrophe
だから dakara - so; therefore
噂話 uwasa banashi - gossip (噂 uwasa rumor; hearsay + 話 hanashi talk; story - the 'h' takes a harder 'b')
やめたほうがいい yameta hou ga ii - should (ought to) stop

塵も積もれば Even Dust when Piled...

Japanese proverbs

Transparent

 

塵も積もれば、山となる
Even Dust, When Piled up, Will Become a Mountain. 

 

塵も積もれば、山となる
Japanese
ちりもつもれば、やまとなる chiri mo tsumoreba, yama to naru
Literal
Even dust when pile up, becomes a mountain.
English Equivalent
Many a little makes a mickle.
[mickle (noun) a large amount]
Notes

塵も chiri mo Dust too
The も (also, too) is better expressed as 'even' in English

積もれば tsumoreba If piled up
Conditional (-eba) form of 積もる tsumoru accumulate; pile up

 


Example Sentence


毎日、英単語をひとつずつおぼえよう。ちりも積もれば、山となるというからね。
mainichi, eitango o hitotsu zutsu oboeyou. chiri mo tsumoreba, yama to naru to iu kara ne.
Learn one English word each day. As they say, even dust when piled up becomes a mountain.

 

Vocabulary image

毎日 mainichi—every day
英単語 eitango—English word
o—direct object marker
ひとつずつ hitotsu zutsu—one by one
おぼえよう oboeyou—Volitional form of 覚える oboeru meaning "Let's learn"; memorize, learn
というからね to iu kara ne—'As they say'

必要は発明の母 Necessity is the Mother of Invention

日本の諺:
必要は発明の母
Necessity is the Mother of Invention More...

Japanese proverbs

Transparent

 

必要は発明の母
Necessity is the Mother of Invention

必要は発明の母
Japanese
ひつよう は はつめい の はは
hitsuyou wa hatsumei no haha
Literal
Necessity is the mother of invention.
English Equivalent
Necessity is the mother of invention.
Notes

This quote is from Plato's Republic (Book II). Creative juices are unleashed when people are forced to come up with a solution.

 


Example Sentence


必要は発明の母かもしれない、だけど、偶然は発明の父なんだ
hitsuyou wa hatsumei no haha kamoshirenai, dakedo, guuzen wa hatsumei no chichi nan da.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but pure chance is invention's father.

 

Vocabulary image

必要 hitsuyou—necessity; need; requirement
発明 hatsumei—invention [発明家 hatsumei ka inventor]
haha—mother
発明の母 hatsumei no haha—the mother of invention
かもしれない kamoshirenai—may be; it may be that; perhaps; maybe
だけど dakedo—but; however
偶然 guuzen—chance; coincidence
chichi—father
なんだ nanda—(used when explaining something)

頭隠して、尻隠さず Hide Head, Don't Hide Butt

Japanese proverbs

Transparent

 

頭隠して、尻隠さず
Cover your head, but Expose your Butt

頭隠して、尻隠さず
Japanese
あたまかくして、しりかくさず
atama kakushite, shiri kakusazu
Literal
Hide head, don't hide butt
English Equivalent
Hiding your head in the sand (like an Ostrich)
[Not a very similar meaning, but both are used for ridicule when someone does something foolish]
Notes

隠して kakushite hiding
The て form of 隠す kakusu to hide; conceal

隠さず kakusazu not hide
The ず is a negative ending

 


Example Sentence


しんのすけは、かくれんぼうするとき、いつもおしりが見えている。まさに、頭隠して尻隠さずだ。
shinnosuke wa, kakurenbou suru toki, itsumo oshiri ga mieteiru. masa ni, atama kakushite shiri kakusazu da..
Shinnosuke when playing hide-and-go-seek, always (hides somewhere that) exposes his backend. Truly, this is hiding his head but not his butt.

 

Vocabulary image

しんのすけ shinnosuke—a boy's name
かくれんぼう kakurenbou—hide-and-go-seek (children's game)
するとき suru toki—when doing...
いつも itsumo—always
おしり oshiri—butt; backend
見えている miete iru—able to be seen
まさに masa ni—surely; certainly; truly

名言・名句 Famous Sayings

Toil is the Father of Fame

Famous Japanese Sayings image
Toil is the Father of Fame

 

Today's famous saying is from the Greek tragedian Euripides (Εὐριπίδης and in Japanese, エウリピデス). Euripides was one of the three famous writers of Greek tragedies in ancient Greece. He is so famous, in fact, he now has his own page at Wikipedia. Here it is.

Πόνος γὰρ ὡς λέγουσιν, εὐκλεϊης, πατὴρ.
For Toil, as they say, is the father of fame.

And here is a Japanese translation:



 

労働は名声の父と言われている。
roudou wa meisei no chichi to iwarete iru.

 

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Break it down:

star労働 roudou (manual) labor; toil
star名声
meisei fame; renown; reputation
star
chichi father
star名声の父
meisei no chichi the 'father' of fame
starと言われている
to iwarete iru it is said...

四字熟語 4 Character Words

四字熟語 yoji jukugo 4 Character Sayings

以心伝心 Telepathy

Japanese proverbs

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以心伝心
Telepathy 

右往左往 Run about in Confusion

Japanese proverbs

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右往左往
Running around like a chicken with its head cut off

 

右往左往
Japanese
うおうさおう u ou sa ou
Literal
go right and left
English Equivalent
Running around like a chicken with its head cut off; go in all directions
Notes

Learning this 四字熟語 is a great way to remember the on readings of right and left. I don't know about you, but learning みぎ and ひだり seemed easy compared to remembering which was う and which was さ.

If you can remember 'right' goes first, saying this fun word will help clear up the confusion. u (right) ou sa (left) ou

右折 u setsu--a right turn (often heard by car navigation systems)
左折 sa setsu--a left turn

 


Example Sentence


突然の地震で人々は右往左往した。
totsuzen no jishin de hitobito wa uousaou shita.
A sudden earthquake caused the people to go in all directions.

 

Vocabulary image

突然の totsuzen no—sudden; unexpected
地震 jishin—earthquake
人々hito bito—people [The 々shows repetition of the previous kanji: 人人; Note the sound change on the second 'hito']
した shita—Use する with 右往左往

有頂天 Ecstasy

Japanese proverbs

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有頂天
Ecstasy  

 

有頂天
Japanese
うちょうてん u chou ten
Literal
Have (reached) the highest heaven
English Equivalent
On cloud nine; ecstasy; in raptures; be elated 
Notes

有頂天 is a translation of the sanskrit word for the highest heaven in Buddhism.

A 2005 star-studded comedy movie directed by 三谷幸喜 Mitani Koki was titled THE有頂天ホテル.

OK, it isn't a FOUR character 四字熟語! But it is still useful!

 


Example Sentence


一億円の宝くじをあてた人は有頂天になった。
ichi oku en no takarakuji o ateta hito wa uchouten ni natta.
The person who won the hundred million yen lottery was in ecstasy.

 

Vocabulary image

一億 ichi oku—100,000,000
宝くじ takara kuji—lottery
あてた ateta—hit the mark (for the lotter) [当ててみて atete mite Take a guess]
あてた人 ateta hito—the person who won (the lottery)
になった ni natta—になる

私利私欲 Greed

Japanese proverbs

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私利私欲
Greed; Self-Interest

 

私利私欲
Japanese
しりしよく shi ri shi yoku
Literal
Self-interest and selfish desire
English Equivalent
Motivated by greed
Notes

私 is the "I, me" pronoun watashi. Other common examples of using the し reading are:

私立学校 shiritsu gakkou Private school
私有 shi yuu Private ownership
私有地 shi yuu chi Private land
私的感情 shi teki kan jou Personal feelings

 


Example Sentence


私利私欲に駆られる。
shirishiyoku ni karareru.
To be driven by greed.

 

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駆られる karareru—be driven by...; be carried away by (one's feelings); succumb to (curiosity); be assailed by (fears) [ from Kodansha's 新和英大辞典]

自画自賛 Singing one's own Praises

Japanese proverbs

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自画自賛
Singing One's Own Praises 

自画自賛
Japanese
じがじさん ji ga ji san
Literal
One's own picture; praising oneself
English Equivalent
Singing one's own Praises
Tooting one's own Horn
Notes

The 自 as you may guess adds the meaning of 'oneself.' You may know it from the common 自分 jibun 'oneself' and 自由 jiyuu 'freedom'

 


Example Sentence


自画自賛に聞こえるかもしれませんが、ぼくは本当に歌がうまいよ。
jigajisan ni kikoeru kamoshiremasen ga, boku wa hontou ni uta ga umai yo
It may sound like I'm bragging, but I'm really good at singing.

 

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に聞こえる ni kikoeru—sounds like... [太くに見える futoku ni mieru - to look (appear) fat]
かもしれません kamoshiremasen—may; might; possibly
ga—but
ぼく boku—I (usually used with males)
本当に hontou ni—really; truly (adv)
uta—song [in this case singing in general]
うまい umai—good at; skillful; clever [can also be used with food or drink to mean 'delicious']

豪華絢爛 magnificent; luxurious and splendid