Kanji Korner
Some yojijukugo (four-character compounds) to get your kanji karma pumpin’
By: Alex Dudok de Wit | Apr 27, 2012 | Issue: 944 | No Comments | 1,567 views

海千山千

umisen yamasen = a sly old person
It’s said in Japanese folklore that a snake will turn into a dragon after having lived in the sea and the mountains for a thousand years apiece. This phrase, which literally translates as “sea thousand mountain thousand,” adapts the saying for humans; it denotes someone whose worldly experience has rendered him or her devious and cunning.

明鏡止水

meikyo shisui = clear and serene
This phrase will please anyone who still thinks of Japanese culture as the exclusive domain of refined Zen aesthetic. Literally meaning “clear mirror, still water,” it refers to a state of mind blissfully uncluttered by thoughts and worries. No wonder it’s rarely heard in contemporary Japan.

一石二鳥

isseki nicho = two birds, one stone
Identical in both literal meaning and application to the English proverb, this phrase is in fact one of very few four-character compounds to be derived from our language. For those with a lot of tasks on their hands, or just an unusual aversion to birds, the Japanese have coined isseki sancho and isseki yoncho respectively meaning “three” and “four birds, one stone.”

唯我独尊

yuiga dokuson = a holier-than-thou attitude
Buddhist mythology has it that when the Buddha was born (emerging fully formed from the right side of Queen Maya’s torso), he took seven steps, pointed to the heavens and declared, “Yuiga dokuson,” which can be translated as “Only I am holy!” Bold words for a newborn baby, the phrase is now used to describe those with a self-righteous, conceited attitude.

Share:

Email:

Email This Post

Print:

Print This Post
Rate this
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

Ebisu Best Color International Hair Salon
Cut: ¥5,940~, Highlights: ¥8,650, -15% off first visit
Toranomon Hills Dental Clinic
English-speaking, American Dental Association certified
AKASAKA INTERNATIONAL HAIR & NAIL SALON
Color products imported from the UK & 20% off first visit
Nail, Wax, Spray Tan treatments in Tokyo
English-speaking Total Beauty Salon
Serviced Apartments Azabu Court
Daily, weekly, monthly extended stay studios/suites
Hands-on Nails: Nail Salon in Omotesando
Women's and Men's nail service. Shellac ¥7,000→¥5,800
HAIR COLOR SPECIALISTS, KERATIN TREATMENTS
Australian owned/managed hair salon 20%off first visit
TOHTO GUEST HOUSE
Accommodation in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba
REAL ESTATE in Tokyo - Rent & Sale
Best source for expat housing, office, investment
Tokyo Furnished Apartments
No Key money, deposit, agent fee, guarantor!