Site Map
Japanese Proverbs and Expressions  T–V
Section › 12 Set Search Previous Next

Terms

Reservations Contents  

T

Tadpoles will become frogs. [There is little or no hope that they will develop further.]

Take an umbrella before you get wet. [Be prepared. Cf. Prevention is better than cure.]

Tall trees, much wind. [Tall trees catch much wind.]

Ten men, ten bellies. [Ten men, ten minds.]

The after-wit of a fool. [Cf. After-wit is everybody's wit.]

The belly, too, is part of me. [Be temperate in eating and drinking.]

The Buddhist prayers of a devil.

This saying is used when a cruel and wicked man feigns kindness and sympathy, as when someone who has been on bad terms with a deceased person attends the funeral service for appearance's sake and chants a sutra, when actually he has no sympathy with the sorrowing family, is spoken of as "the sutra-chanting of a devil" and is despised because of the inherent deceit.

The buttocks are heavy. [To be lazy or inactive]

The buttocks are in contact with fire. [To be pressed by urgent business]

The castle is not overthrown by precaution.

The cat that does not mew catches rats. [The efficient person goes about his or her business quietly.]

The cherry tree is known among others by its flowers. [Describes a person who stands out among his fellows.]

The conger eel has one span of life, the lobster also one span of life. [Each has its span of life. Cf. Life is but a span.]

The crow that mimics a cormorant gets drowned. [Keep within your limitations - including your current abilities and skills.]

The ears grow fat. [To have a trained or cultivated ear]

The eyes are distant. [To be farsighted; to have grand ideas]

The eyes are high. [The ideas are lofty]

The eyes grow fat. [To have a trained eye]

The eyes speak as much as the mouth.

The fruits are few. [E.g. To make many promises but fail to keep them]

The hare's midday nap. [Inattention may prove fatal; due attention is called for. It refers to an Aesop's fable in which a hare lost a race because he took a nap on the way.]

The hasty hand bungles things. [Hasty ones may make blunders more frequently.]

The hasty hand will do things wrong. [Haste may increase the risk of errors, that is.]

The hawk with talent hides its talons [The person who knows most often says least.]

The loins are strong. [To be firm, brave]

The loud bark of the brainless dog. [Inefficient people may go to extremes of jabber or at least talk overly much while capable persons remain quiet or attain their goals, rather.]

The lunch is from previous preparations.

The monkey remains a monkey although wearing the dress of a nobleman. [Avoid doing what is beyond you and thereby making something sad of yourself.]

The nightingale that has found a plum tree. [That is, a fin place to sing. It refers to the condition of a man who has been placed in a suitable and comfortable position.]

The nose opens. [To be amazed]

The person who goes ahead controls others.

The river-bred person comes to an end in the river. Kawadachi wa kawa de hatsuru. [Lots of persons die in surroundings they are used to.]

The self enters. [To be interested]

The thief is eaten by the dogs. [Even when the dogs were chewing up a thief, if he made no outcry he was greatly admired by the Japanese for his self-control, asserts Buchanan (!).]

The thing in hand. [One's strong point.]

The unskillful talk long. [Poor speakers hold forth a long time. Cf. Brevity is the soul of wit.

The warrior lives an honorable life even in poverty. [It is beneath his dignity to beg for food.]

The wind that comes in through a crack is cold. [For such a draft may bring on some illness. So better take care of small trifles, as you later could have to deal with big consequences otherwise.]

The wise hawk hides his talons. [A truly wise person does not make a show of his resources and ability. Cf. It is a fool who does not hide his wisdom (at times, when convenient).]

The young of frogs are frogs. [Used to discourage people from trying to rise above their station in life. Cf. Like begets like.]

There are those who ride sedans, those who carry sedans, and those who make straw sandals for the sedan bearers. [The wealthy are able to take vehicles whenever they go out, while others barely eke out a living by carrying them or other lowly work.]

There is no being bored with precautions. [One cannot be too cautious.]

There is no end if you look up. [In modern Japan it may have a positive ring to it.]

There is no hero in the eyes of his servant. [Perhaps because faults are revealed through much association.]

There is no instance of a nude man dropping anything. [Destitute people are not likely to lose anything. If you have anything, exercise caution lest you lose it.]

Things sweet to the mouth do not necessarily nourish the belly. [What at first seems good and desirable is not always best.]

Those who speak do not know. [A wise man is silent while an ignorant man chatters. Cf. Who knows most says least.]

Though she may be a beauty, it is but one layer of skin. [Beauty is but skin deep.]

Though small a needle is not to be swallowed. [Even small things are to be handled with care.]

Though the wind blows, the mountain does not move. [A self-controlled person maintains calm enough.]

Though you see the back of another you cannot see your own. [But wise persons hardly shy away from noticing their own defects.]

Thunderclap from a clear sky. [A bolt from the blue, a complete surprise]

To act the sleeping badger. [To pretend not to see or know]

To agree with one's mouth. [To suit one's taste]

To be ear-learned. [To have learning because of things heard, or through hearing learned discourses. This is often said of people who have not gone to school, or who have read or travelled extensively.]

To be foolishly honest. [To be honest to one's harm is sadly not greatly admired.]

To built a castle on sand. [Cf. To build a house on sand. About a foolish and useless undertaking.]

To caution put in caution. [One cannot be too careful. Cf. Hear twice before you speak once.]

To close the anus after breaking wind. [To assume a look of innocence after committing an indiscretion]

To cross a stone bridge by tapping on it. [This describes the caution of a blind man tapping with his stick as he walks across a stone bridge. The proverb is used metaphorically to describe an over-cautious person.]

To cross over the world with a single arm. [To be fully self-supporting. Cf. To paddle one's own canoe]

To dye the finger. [To have a finger in; to make an attempt; to try]

To elevate one's nose. [To be proud; be boastful]

To fasten to the eyes. [To observe with care]

To hang a large stone from a lotus thread. [To do the impossible. Cf. To sweep the sea with a broom.]

To hang up a sheep's head at the shopfront and sell dog meat. [- is crafty butcher's trick. Cf. To cry wine and sell vinegar]

To have a foot wound. [To have a guilty conscience]

To have a robber watch the money. [To give a position of financial responsibility to a notoriously dishonest person]

To have even the hairs of the anus pulled out. [To be fleeced of everything]

To hold it eight-tenths of an inch above the eyes. [It refers to the custom of holding a thing most respectfully. This is done as a matter of ceremony when making a presentation to or receiving something from a superior.]

To laugh embracing one's abdomen. [To hold one's sides with laughter]

To lean a ladder against the clouds. [An impractical enterprise]

To lose face and eyes. [To suffer a let-down; to lose face; to disgrace oneself]

To pass through the eyes. [To scan or read rapidly]

To perform a glorious exploit with undrawn sword. [A comment. It applied to warriors on the battlefield but it is now refers to someone who attains his object without going to extremes.]

To place into the head. [To take under consideration]

To put bean paste on food. [A secondary meaning: "to make a mess of things" or "to make a failure of a project]

To put forth the feet. [To reveal a secret. Cf. To let the cat out of the bag]

To put on a cat show. [To feign innocence. In Japanese lore the cat is said to have the power to dance bewitchingly.]

To put your biceps into it. [To take great interest in; to show a zeal for]

To read a person's belly, or mind. [To read another's thoughts]

To ripen in the ears. [To hear and understand well]

To search for a needle at the bottom of the water. [Cf. To look for a needle in a haystack]

To speak of a needle as if it were a club. [To exaggerate. Cf. To make a mountain out of a molehill]

To step on the second foot. Ni-no-ashi wo fumu. [To hesitate, balk, or demur]

To stick out the tongue in secret. [To laugh in one's sleeve]

To take without wetting one's hand. [A slight effort; a small amount of labour. This saying is derived from fishing]

To use a double tongue. [To tell a lie; be double faced]

To use a million hands. [To try all possible means. Cf. To leave no stone unturned]

To walk cutting the wind with your shoulders. [To strut along; swagger. The proud samurai often walked in that manner.]

To write a number on water. [A figure of speech for a useless thing to do]

U

Unless you have been a retainer you cannot use a retainer. [Retainer: servant, soldier, supporter. Know your trade - in this case: good bossing.]

Contents


Japanese proverbs, Literature  

Japanese proverbs, sayings of Japan, English translations of proverbs of Japan, To top Section Set Next

Japanese proverbs, sayings of Japan, English translations of proverbs of Japan. USER'S GUIDE: [Link]
© 2016–2017, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil. [Email]  ᴥ  Disclaimer: [Link]