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A country may go to ruin but its mountains and streams remain.

A flower on an inaccessible height. [Something beyond one's ability to gain, an unattainable prize. Cf. Wishing for the moon.]

A great man does not seize small things. [A great man does not stick at trifles.]

A harlot has no faithfulness. [This maxim warns men of such women.]

A high-crawling dragon repents. [Too great ambition brings failure.]

A hunter is sometimes caught in a trap. [That is, the man who plots to ruin another may end up ruined himself. Cf. Harm watch, harm catch.]

A jewel will not sparkle unless polished. [An untaught fellow may have latent abilities all the same.]

A light-buttocks woman. [A woman of easy virtue]

A man of arm. [A man of ability]

A man with a wound on his leg will run to a plain of dwarf bambo. [A man with a guilty conscience will seek cover.]

A most disciplined people may still fail for it. [To forgo breakfast, adjust for long with bodily discomfort and pain make up a rigorous life of hardship and deprivation that may lead to "muga," which is variously translated as "effortlessness," and "to live as already dead" etc.]

A packsaddle on an eel. [- is difficult to fasten. - Used to describe the ambigous and equivocal ways some people speak.]

A person with a broad face. [A person with many acquaintances.]

A red spot amidst the green grass. [Lit. Within ten thousand greens, one red spot. - The only lady in a gathering of gentlemen.]

A short-tempered man destroys things. [A hot-tempered person does much harm.]

A skilled merchant keeps his goods deeply hid and acts as if he had none. [So, a wise one hides his talents when opportune.]

A snake though placed in a bamboo tube, cannot become perfectly straight. [A man who is morally crooked cannot be reformed by discipline.]

A truth that looks like a lie. [Cf. Truth is stranger than fiction.]

A wen above the eye. [An eyesore.]

Above everything the body is most important. [Health of body and mind is worth going for and keeping.]

Against the solid earth, a hammer. [We hardly miss when we strike the ground with a hammer. A meaning: "Not to fail in one's intentions.]


Because there are fools wise men look to advantage. [Cf. Were there no fools there would be no wise men.]

Before you fall take a staff. [Take all necessary precautions.]

Beginning may be easy, continuing may be hard. [Mod]

Better be a chicken's head than an ox's rump. [Better be the tail of something worthwhile than the head of something worthless.]

Big hearted. [Liberal; generous]

Boat-swallowing-fish do not live in brooks. [Cramped circumstances do not produce great men.]

Bone-rest. [Relaxation; well-earned rest]

Buddha's image is made but the eyes have not been put in. • Buddha's image is made but the spirit has not been put in. [You do not give the finishing touch to your work. The reference to putting in the soul goes back to a buddhist service needed before the image can become an object of worship. Cf. The English: ploughing the field but forgetting the seed.]

Build a fence even between intimate friends. [A fence of courtesy had better be there. Cf. Familiarity breeds contempt.]


Carelessness [lack of caution, heedlessness] is a great enemy. [The Japanese word "yudan" literally means "without oil". Cf. Haste makes waste.]

Clams cannot be taken in a field. [Look for things where they may be found.]

Confused crabs miss their holes. • A bewildered crab does not enter its hole. [Agitated people soon become unable to behave correctly and composedly. The confused or demoralised person can get into great danger.]


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