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JAPANESE PROVERB


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Last update April 3, 2011




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格言  Proverb/Saying  Kakugen [kah-coo-ghen]

 FILE 8 

Tora no i wo karu kitsune
虎の威を藉る狐 
とらのいをかるきつね

 Pronunciation 
[toh・rah・noh・ee・oh・kah・roo・key・two・neh]

 Word Data 
とら  tora = a tiger
  no = joshi
  i = dignity
  wo = joshi
かる  karu = to borrow
きつね  kitsune = a fox

 Translation 
A fox borrowing a tiger's awsome appearance.
 English Equivalent 
An ass in a lion's skin.

Originated from an ancient folk tale describing a fox caught by a tiger, who asked for his release saying that he was the one chosen to be the king of all animals, and the tiger should follow him from behind to check how other animals fear him. He was right. All other animals were scared and run to see the fox (with the tiger's appearance seen behind) coming. A foxy story.

 Usage 
Suzuki: I can't stand his pompous attitude any more.
Sasaki: He is a boss' pet and "Tora no i wo karu kitsune"
 FILE 7 

Anzuru yori umu ga yasushi
案ずるより産むが易し 
あんずるよりうむがやすし

 Pronunciation 
[ah・n・zoo・roo・yoh・ree・uh・moo・gah・yah・sue・she]

 Word Data 
あんずる  anzuru = to worry about
より  yori = than
うむ  umu = to undergo childbirth; give a birth
  ga = joshi connecting particle
やすし  yasushi = easy

 Translation 
A child delivery is easier than you think.
 English Equivalent 
An attempt is sometimes easier than expected.

A woman who has gone through the delivery may say that it is easier said than done. Still, there may be a case that it's better to actually do things than worrying over this and that beforehand. Used to suggest that things are easier to do than you expect.

 Usage 
Hanako: I can's sleep thinking about the tomorrow's presentation...
Mariko: Take it easy, it's "Auzuru yori umu ga yasushi".

 FILE 6 

Akuji senri wo hashiru
悪事千里を走る 
あくじせんりをはしる

 Pronunciation 
[ah・coo・gee・seh・n・ree・oh・hah・she・roo]

 Word Data 
あくじ  akuji = a bad thing
せんり  senri = a thousand ri (1 ri = approx. 3.9 km)
  wo = joshi connecting particle
はしる  hashiru = to run; gallop

 Translation 
A bad thing gallops thousands miles.
 English Equivalent 
Bad news travels fast.

While many people love gossips, envious hearts crave for bad ones. For such people, other's bad news is good one, and bad news should be sent while it is hot. So, a bad one travels fast, and a good one so slow that you can say no news is good news.

 Usage 
Sasaki: Did you know his wife left him?
Takeda: Yeah, I know. Everyone knows, "Akuji senri wo hashiru", doesn't it?
 FILE 5 

Asu no hyaku yori kyo no goju
明日の百より今日の五十 
あすのひゃくよりきょうのごじゅう

 Pronunciation 
[ah・sue・noh・hyah・coo・yoh・ree・kyoh・noh・goh・juh]

 Word Data 
あす  asu = tomorrow
  no = of: joshi connecting particle
ひゃく  hyaku = hundred
より  yori = (better) than something
きょう  kyo = today
  no = of: joshi connecting particle
ごじゅう  goju = fifty

 Translation 
Better to have fifty today than to have hundred tomorrow.
 English Equivalent 
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

The future is out of sight, and who knows about tomorrow; so why not just be content with getting what's surely at your hand rathen than speculating for more for tomorrow?

 Usage 
Shimada: Don't you think we should wait for a bigger one than jumping to this?
Tanaka: It's too risky. There is a saying "Asu no hyaku yori kyou no goju".

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