Learn Japanese: 50 Japanese Proverbs & Sayings. Part 4

Hello Junkie!

Read part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here.

And welcome back! Here’s part 4. Some sexy, inspirational Japanese proverbs, quotes and sayings about life and love. Japanese has plenty, and I’m breaking them down word by word. So…

  • You learn more Japanese words
  • Master some proverbs, sayings
  • Gain insight into Japanese culture
  • And use them in your Japanese conversations

You’re more than welcome to post them on your Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. :) And away we go.

✅ And… if you want to learn & speak Japanese with a complete learning system, (2,000+ audio/video courses, apps, study tools and more) Sign up at JapanesePod101 (click here) and start learning! I recommend ’em as a teacher & learner.

41. 勝って兜の緒を締めよ – Katte kabuto no o wo shimeyo

  • Literal Meaning: After victory, tighten your helmet strap.

japanese proverb #41

Just because you have some good news and good luck doesn’t mean you should relax. This is a Japanese samurai proverb that advises to stay on alert despite victory. Because when you relax, that’s when an attack (or bad luck) can sneak up on you.

Vocab:

  • 勝つ – Katsu – To win
  • 兜 – Kabuto – Helmet
  • 緒 – O – Strap
  • 締める – Shimeru – To fasten

42. 蓼食う虫も好き好き – Tade kuu mushi mo sukizuki

  • Literal Meaning: Some bugs gladly eat knotweed.

japanese proverb 42

The overall meaning of this proverb is – to each his own – or – there’s no arguing over taste. And in this case, while the lot of you might not like to eat knotweed, someone does. Some bugs do. To each his own.

Vocab:

  • 蓼 – Tade – knotweed
  • 虫 – Mushi – Bug
  • 食う – Kuu – To eat (Yes, like Taberu but a lot more casual)
  • 好き好き- Sukizuki – Matter of taste

43. 類は友を呼ぶ – Rui wa tomo wo yobu

  • Literal Meaning: Similar types call (each other) friends

japanese proverb

This is the Japanese idiom for “birds of a feather flock together.” In other, similar people, whether by personality or interest prefer the company of one another. They understand each other. And thus, they call each other friends.

44. 乞食を三日すればやめられぬ – Kojiki o mikka sureba yamerarenu

  • Literal meaning: If you’re a beggar for 3 days, you won’t be able to stop

japanese proverb 44

Best way to predict a person’s behavior? Their past actions. This proverb is a good example of human psychology. Once you start doing something, chances are you’ll continue.

Someone that has a track history lying will probably lie in the future. And someone who has a history of eating lots of cake will continue to eat lots of cake. Another variation is “once a beggar, always a beggar” or “once ____, always _____.”

Vocab:

  • 乞食 – Kojiki – Beggar
  • 三日 – Mikka – 3 days
  • やめ – Yameru – To stop

45. 有るは無いに勝る– Aru wa nai ni masaru

  • Literal meaning: to have (something) is better than nothing

japanese proverb 45

Isn’t it? Just a proverb that reminds you to be happy with what you have. Something is better than nothing. Something can grow into something bigger. Be happy that you’re learning some Japanese and don’t stress that you aren’t “fluent” yet. You’ll be there soon enough.

Vocab:

  • 勝る – Masaru – To surpass, to exceed’

46. 痘痕も笑窪 – Abata mo ekubo

  • Literal meaning: pimples can be dimples (when in love)

japanese proverb 46

Yes, this is a Japanese love proverb! Meaning, that even a pockmark (a pimple/pimple scar) can be as appealing as a dimple. When one is in love, pockmarks or other defects become “dimples.” Or perhaps you just haven’t been in love yet.

Vocab:

  • 痘痕 – Abata – Pockmark
  • 笑窪  – Ekubo – Dimple

47. 遊び人暇なし – Asobi-nin hima nashi

  • Meaning: Pleasure seekers have no free time

japanese proverb 47

Why? People that chase fun, activities, and overall busy-ness and pleasure are always consumed by it to ever have “free” time. Basically a proverb that points out that being “busy” isn’t always a good thing. Especially those that have no meaning in life, thus creating useless business. While you’re chasing one thing, then another – time’s flying by.

Vocab:

  • 遊び人Asobinin – Pleasure seeker, playboy, gambler
  • 人暇 – Hima – Free time, spare time

48. 明日は明日の風が吹く – Ashita wa ashita no kaze ga fuku

  • Literal Meaning: Tomorrow, tomorrow’s wind will blow

japanese proverb 48

The meaning behind this is that “tomorrow is a new day.” Tomorrow, the wind will blow again. And just as it blows again, you to have another chance – again – to learn more Japanese!

Vocab:

  • 明日Ashita – Tomorrow
  • 風 – Kaze – Wind
  • 吹く- Fuku – To blow

49. 明日のことをいうと天井の鼠が笑う – Ashita no koto wo iu to tenjou no nezumi ga warau

  • Literal meaning: Speak of tomorrow and the rats in the ceiling will laugh

japanese proverb 49

Why? Because you can’t predict tomorrow! Yes, tomorrow’s a new day but overall, the new day cannot be predicted… and the rats that are snugly lodged in your ceiling are laughing hard.

Vocab:

  • 天井 – Tenjou – Ceiling
  • 鼠 – Nezumi – Mouse
  • 笑うWarau – Laugh

50. 相手のない喧嘩はできぬ – Aite no nai kenka wa dekinu

  • Literal Meaning: A fight without a partner cannot be had

japanese proverb 50

The Japanese culture is totally about harmony. So, the best way to avoid a fight? Don’t get the other person a “partner” or a “rival.” Walk away. Without another fighter, there is no fight.

Granted, you do need a challenge and a “partner” to improve in a skill, but this idiom is more about unnecessary fights/conflicts rather than  “growing” and “improving” by having a partner that challenges you.

Vocab:

  • 相手 – Aite – Partner
  • 喧嘩 – Kenka – Fight

Now, you tell me.

What are your favorite Japanese proverbs, sayings, idioms, etc? Leave me a comment, I’ll add more and be sure to share this article if you like it.

Read Part 5 Here.

See you in the comments!

– The Main Junkie

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