8 votes
Accepted

Looking for the proverb "Parents work hard, our life is so comfortable that children become beggar"

It's not a well-known one, but we have. 親【おや】苦【く】、子【こ】楽【らく】、孫【まご】乞食【こじき】 "Parents toil, children ease, grandchildren beg." Also with many variations: 祖父【じじ】は辛労【しんろう】、子は楽、孫は乞食 「親苦労、子楽、孫ほいと」「親苦労、子楽、...
broccoli forest's user avatar
7 votes

What are the origins of the Japanese idiom ななころびやおき (nanakorobiyaoki)?

I thought I remember something from Chinese and it seems indeed that 七転び八起き originally comes from the Chinese saying 七顛八起{しちてんはっき}. (I found it written also as 七転八起). Now, regarding why the numbers ...
Tommy's user avatar
  • 7,926
5 votes
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Understanding ただより高いものはない

ただより高いものはない is a proverb that means "Nothing is more expensive than free things." In other words, it says free things can be the most costly/risky thing because there is usually some catch for a free ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
5 votes
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寄らば from 寄らば大樹の陰

寄らば is the classical (文語) or archaic (古語) conditional-form of 寄る. In modern standard Japanese, it's 寄れば. In modern Japanese, the conditional-form (aka ba-form) of a verb ends with "-eba", as you ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
4 votes
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meaning and authenticity of Japanese proverb about shrimp and jellyfish

I have not seen such a saying. Perhaps 犬猿の仲 or 水と油 would be similar in meaning. Some "proverbs" in the link are real ones, but many are not only unheard but also nonsensical. To list a few, I'm ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
4 votes
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A proverb about it's a sin not to take what's you catch

The closest phrase in Japanese would be 据え膳食わぬは男の恥, but it says nothing about fish. The literal meaning of this phrase is "Not eating the meal set before him is a man's shame".
4 votes

Conflicting meanings for "犬も歩けば" expression?

Both are 'correct' interpretations. It depends on what 棒にあたる means. If interpreted as beaten by sticks, the phrase means (1) and if as stumble upon (just) something, it means (2). According to ...
sundowner's user avatar
  • 37k
4 votes

て Ending, Short Phrase, and Possibly Fake Saying

This しね is not 死ね, but the particle し, which conveys that the clause is one reasong among several, and the end particle ね serving its usual function. とも言います is essentially just 'they [also] say'. 難しくて ...
Angelos's user avatar
  • 11.5k
4 votes

About 大事の前の小事 proverb

The proverb simply says “small things before big things” and this may be interpreted in two completely opposite ways. The difference is not due to how it is parsed or how individual elements are ...
aguijonazo's user avatar
  • 20.8k
4 votes

諺/熟語 for "paint oneself into a corner"

I think (自分で)自分の首を締める is the closest and safest. It does convey the meaning of "setting hurdles for themself or putting themself in a more difficult position". 自縄自縛 is also usable, but it's ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
4 votes
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諺(ことわざ): Get rid of your sickness by giving it to someone else?

I have heard such a saying several times, but it's not regarded as a traditional proverb. It's more of a recurring joke, or a well-known superstition at most. I think almost no Japanese people ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
4 votes
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Is there a ことわざ similar to "water under the bridge" and "let bygones be bygones"?

Oddly enough we say 水に流す。E.g.昔のことは水に流して仲良くやろう。
Enno Shioji's user avatar
4 votes
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世の中は三日見ぬ間の桜かな - How to interpret the かな in this proverb? How to interpret this proverb?

This "proverb" is actually a haiku by the eighteenth-century poet 大島{おおしま}蓼太{りょうた}. Like many haiku, it lacks a main verb. かな does convey the sense that the poet is surprised or impressed – ...
Nanigashi's user avatar
  • 1,565
3 votes
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none of us is as smart as all of us

I think 三人寄れば文殊の知恵 (lit. "If three people gather, the wisdom of Monju (is achieved)") is the closest proverb in Japanese. I'm not aware of any Japanese set phrase that can literally translate to "...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
3 votes
Accepted

What's a natural way to say "If I can do it so can you!"?

I would say: 私にできるなら、あなたにもできるよ。
chocolate's user avatar
  • 65.5k
3 votes

諺/熟語 for "paint oneself into a corner"

ドツボにはまる digging him/herself into the deeper hole. 自らの首を締める cut your own throat. 楽屋から火を出す (can’t find similar English phrase.literal translation should be “set fire to your dressing room”) いたちごっこ A ...
kimi Tanaka's user avatar
  • 5,608
3 votes
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Is there any Japanese saying, proverb or idiom equivalent to the meaning of the biblical parable "The Mote and the Beam"?

Off the top of my head: 「[目糞]{めくそ}[鼻糞]{はなくそ}を笑う」 「人のふり見て[我]{わ}がふり直せ」 「[猿]{さる}の[尻]{しり}笑い」 「五十歩百歩」/「五十歩をもって百歩を笑う」 Similar/related proverbs on the net: 「[蠣]{かき}が[鼻垂]{はなた}れを笑う」 「[腐]{くさ}れ[柿]{がき}が[熟柿]{じゅくし}...
chocolate's user avatar
  • 65.5k
2 votes

"Don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes"

I think the literal translation of it is "彼の立場になってみるまで、彼を判断するな", but it isn't a proverb. わが身をつねって人の痛さを知れ(Pinch yourself to know the pain others feel when they are pinched), which is a proverb, would ...
Yuuichi Tam's user avatar
  • 24.2k
2 votes

Is there any Japanese saying, proverb or idiom equivalent to the meaning of the biblical parable "The Mote and the Beam"?

For what is worth, I've found two related expressions at Jisho.org: 人のことを言う means "to find fault with other people rather than oneself" or "(for the pot) to call the kettle black" ...
jarmanso7's user avatar
  • 6,651
2 votes

Normal is the most difficult" -- origin in Japanese?

I often hear such a phrase like 当たり前のことが一番難しい, which roughly says "Ordinary things are the most difficult (to do)". I don't know if it is a fixed saying, as I searched Google I found many ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
1 vote
Accepted

Proverb? "When you have completed 95 percent of your journey, you are only halfway there."

I think the standard version is 百里を行く者は九十を半ばとす "Who travels a hundred li calls ninety a half", because this is the original form attested in a Chinese chronicle. There is another quote from ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
1 vote

What is the English proverb equivalent of 腹八分目{はらはちぶんめ}に[医者]{いしゃ}いらず and the history behind the proverb?

What is the best equivalent proverb in English of: 腹八分目に医者いらず? I'm not really good at English proverbs, so I'll leave this to someone else. Basically the meaning of this proverb is something very ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k
1 vote

What are the origins of the Japanese idiom ななころびやおき (nanakorobiyaoki)?

In kana and kanji, it's 七転び八起き. 七 = seven, 転び = tumbling, 八 = eight, 起き = standing. All of these are basic and common Japanese words. なな (nana) and や (ya) are kun-readings (i.e. native Japanese ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 315k

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