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"

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#2: 自画自賛 ji ga ji san

MEANING: " Every potter praises his