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Japanese Proverbs

I just want to share some Japanese proverbs i liked. well, some are common not just in Japan.

膝とも談合 (Consult anyone, even your knees)

[Two heads are better than one]

This proverbs is famous no need to explain furthermore.

猿も木から落ちる (Even monkeys fall from trees)

[Anyone can make a mistake]

This proverbs shows admiration for the gifted, matched with sympathy for those who make a mistake.

千里の道も一歩から (Even a thousand-mile journey begins with the first step)

Reflects a practical truth, that one must conquer one’s fear and take that necessary initial move. Consider the maxim “there’s no time like the present”.

悪事千里を走る (An evil act runs a thousand miles)

[Bad news travels fast]

Is like a gossiping, why we don’t gossip good things instead of bad things, right?

郷に入っては郷に従え (Obey the customs of the village you enter)

[When in Rome, do as the Romans]

This proverbs is about conformity, requesting outsiders not to disrupt the society they’re visiting. In short is “respect”.

口は災いの元. (The mouth is the cause of calamity)

[The mouth is the gate of evil]

Talking too much is viewed as irresponsible. Secrets may be betrayed, a universal worry. 

卵と誓いは砕けーやすい (Eggs and Vows are easily broken)

[Actions speak louder than words]

Naaahhh no need to explain, famous sayings or proverbs, right?

味噌の味噌臭いは上味噌にあらず (The bean paste that smells like bean paste is not the best quality)

[All that glitters is not gold)

It warns against what looks or smell, tO good to be true. 

取らぬ狸の皮算用 (Don’t estimate the value of a raccoon dog skin before catching the raccoon dog.)

[Don’t count your chicken before they’re hatched]

We always does this right? So, instead counting your blessings or wealth just thank God you where blessed with him. 

臭い物に蓋 (Put a lid on what smells bad)

[Don’t wash dirty linen in public]

The Japanese are known fir their discretion and more for not talking about a situation than talking about it.  

去る者は日々に疎し。(Those who depart are forgotten, day by day)

[Out of sight, out if mind]

A seemingly callous saying, this proverb reflects that hard truth that impressions of others fade when not prompted by daily appearances. 

爪の垢を煎じて飲む。(Boil and drink another’s fingernail dirt)

[To follow in someone’s footsteps]

To emulate another was how one succeeded as an apprentice or mastered a craft in traditional Japan. 

京の夢、大坂の夢。(Dreams in Kyoto, dreams in Osaka)

[Wishing will make it so]

This saying was used in previously eras by people with big aspirations. Repeating these words signified a wish for one’s dream to become reality.  

旅は道ずれ、世は情け。(In traveling, a companion; in life, sympathy)

[A friend in need is a friend indeed]

In old Japan, taking a trip was somewhat hazardous, and it was best to go accompanied. The larger idea, however, involves emotional support, with the metaphor of life as a journey. 

門前の小僧習わぬ経を読む。(A boy living near a Buddhist temple can learn an untaught sutra by heart)

[Experience is the best teacher]

One learns from what’s nearby and from what one hears over and over: proximity and repetition.  

頭隠して尻隠さず。(One hides the heD and leaves the rear end uncovered)

[Protect yourself at all points]

This warning is as applicable to battle as it to rising up the ranks of a corporate ladder; don’t leave yourself vulnerable. The image is that of an ostrich, who thinks it’s safe when it buries its head in the sand and can no longer see the danger. 

善は急げ。(Do quickly what is good )

[Strike while the iron is hot]

Timing matters, especially in the performance of admirable deeds. 


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