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Getting money can be like digging with a needle.

Good articles are not [always] cheap. [Beware of cheap products.]

Good things, demons many. [Good luck invites many mishaps. Used to remind a person or family enjoying an easy life not to become overconfident.]

Great trees are envied by the wind. [Quoted when attacked by lessers. Outstanding or prominent persons may receive much criticism and are more often subject to attack than the average person. Cf. High regions are never without storms.]


Heart rather than appearance. [About solid worth]

Had the pheasant not screamed it would not have been shot. [So keep quiet and refrain from unwise remarks.]

Has an arm. [Able, capable. [Lit.]

He doesn't even know whether the potatoes are boiled or not. [He lacks common sense. About someone who is not aware of what is taking place under his very nose.]

He who sees righteousness and does not do it is not brave. [An exhortation to moral courage.]

Heart messenger. [Anxiety; worry]

His face is good. [His status is good; his reputation is fine.]


I desire to eat globefish but I value my life.

Japanese globefish tastes delightfully, but if not properly prepared, it is so poisonous that it kills the eater. This proverb is used when a person hesitates to take any chance at a great risk, or when there is a conflict between the dictates of heart and head.

There are at least 120 species in the fish family of puffers - known as balloonfish, blowfish, globefish and pufferfish etc. Most pufferfish species are toxic, and some of them are among the most poisonous animals (vertebrates) in the world. Nonetheless, the meat of some species is considered a delicacy in Japan, Korea and China when prepared by specially trained chefs who know which part is safe to eat and how much. In other waters there are pufferfish species with nontoxic flesh as well. They too are considered a delicacy, and the northern puffer is among them. (Wikipedia, "Tetraodontidae")

I would like to break off the flower, but the branch is too high. [Said by a man in love with a high-born lady who is indifferent to him.]

If the hands are empty, the mouth is empty. [If a person will not work he may not eat. Cf. Work not, eat not.]

If you believe everything you read, better not read.

If you desire it, first prepare for it.

If you don't crop it while it is a bud, it will grow into something that will require an axe. [Take necessary measures early.]

If you make a mistake, don't hesitate to correct it.

If you stop at a place, get in the shade of a big tree. Tachiyora-ba taiboku no kage. [Cf. It is good sheltering under an old hedge. Wider meaning: If you cannot live independently, attach yourself to a successful man or house.]

In a tumbler, a storm. [A big to-do about a small matter. It is more than likely that the Japanese is a direct translation of "a tempest in a teacup", comments Buchanan.]

In sexual love there are no distinctions . . . [At times]

Individuality does not [easily] change [The word seikaku has the combined meaning of "individuality", personality" and "character".]

Inquire seven times, then doubt a person. [This use of 'seven' indicates "quite a number.]

It belongs neither to the sea nor to the mountain (river). [The true nature of the thing is uncertain. Cf. Neither fish, flesh, nor fowl.]

It can be advisable to leave wild flowers and fair girls in their natural surroundings rather than take them to any other place.

It is a beggar's pride that he is not a thief.

It is dark before the feet of the lantern bearer.

It is difficult to subject the bandits in my heart. [Partial]

It is rust from the person himself. [To have no one to blame but oneself; one must take the consequences of his own deeds.]

It was the Heike who overthrew the Heike.

"Heike" is the Japanese-Chinese pronunciation of "Taira," a famous clan that ruled Japan for many years, but adopted frivolous and luxurious habits that sapped their strength and morale until in the end they were defeated by rivals, and the control of Japan passed into the hands of the Genji (Minamoto) clan.


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