This was written on a rock on Cobra Kai on Netflix. [Season 3 , Episode 8 , ~ 22.5 minutes]

What does it mean ?

Google Translation:

Envy shows a rockless garden

I'm surprised and disappointed if it means nothing or if at least it is a bad translation of something. They had a great chance to impart some wisdom from both Japanese culture and from karate philosophy. Why would they not hire experts to confirm all these details ? At S3E4 ~32.5 minutes, Daniel clinks drinks with Kumiko and says kanpai, she responds with karii. I looked it up and karii is in fact an Okinawan version of kanpai. I was impressed by this. Why they couldn't do the same for the writing on the rock is beyond me.

Chekhov's gun : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chekhov%27s_gun

  • So you think it's a coincidence that they're in a garden, and this quote is written on a boulder?
    – Simon
    Jan 5 at 2:02

It's gibberish, and the "handwriting" is distinctly that of a beginner. "岩のない庭を見せる" is very unnatural and matches the pattern generated by poor machine translation, so my guess is someone put something into machine translation and then transcribed the result. Maybe someone can reverse engineer what was put in.

  • 1
    I wonder why they didn't just put in a few more minutes of actually searching for a real sentence? Jan 4 '21 at 10:53
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    Unfortunately you have to wonder this more often than seems reasonable. Probably someone claimed they know some Japanese (which here seems to mean: able to use Google Translate and copy the output, maybe stitch the outputs of two or three queries together) and then were assigned the task of coming up with the inscription. How natural this is to native eyes was likely never considered, although you'd think a big production could come up with a native speaker somehow — at the very least to double check something like this...
    – Earthliŋ
    Jan 4 '21 at 13:28
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    Perhaps the input to the machine translation was something like "Jealousy is a garden with no stones", assuming the translation produced the wrong sense of "stone"...
    – jogloran
    Jan 4 '21 at 22:09
  • How would you rephrase that for the exact same meaning? What is unnatural in that sentence?
    – Simon
    Jan 3 at 20:56

First, it's based off a russian proverb, "Envy sees an ocean without rocks", so it's not even Japanese. Second, the verb is incorrect. The stone says "miseru" (to show) and not "miru" (to see).

  • Thanks James , it's so strange that they wouldn't just use a genuine Japanese phrase.
    – Kantura
    Jan 3 at 14:57

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