Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It is said that proverbs provide a good insight into how the people of a country think.
Many proverbs in Japan are related to agricultural practices and customs because of the ties between Japanese culture and agriculture. Others are from Buddhism and some refer to women and nature.

I've included a few examples below, along with the translations and their equivalent in English.

Saru mo ki kara ochiru.
Even monkeys fall from trees.
(Anyone can make a mistake.)

Go ni itte wa go si shitagae.
Obey the customs of the village.
(When in Rome do as the Romans.)

Hstake kara hamaguri wa torenu.
You can't get clams from a field.
(You can't get blood from a stone.)

Sendo uko shite fune yama ni noboru.
Too many skippers bring the boat to the mountain.
(Too many cooks spoil the broth.)

Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru.
Even dust amassed will grow into a mountain.
(Great oaks from little acorns grow.)

Koi to seki to wa kakusarenu.
Love and a cough cannot be hidden.
(Love conquers all.)

Yanagi ni kaze.
A will before the wind.
(Follow the path of least resistance.)

Nana korobi ya oki.
Fall down seven times, get up eight.
(If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.)

Heso o kamedomo oyobanu.
It's no good trying to bite off your navel.
(Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.)