Pots, kettles and posteriors – Japanese phrases, part four

by Stratton Craig

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For this edition of my Japanese phrase series, I’m going to go over some expressions that you’re probably more familiar with.
As the saying goes, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. That’s the pot calling the kettle black, isn’t it? There, I’ve covered two sayings in one. The Japanese version of both of these is ‘saru no shiriwarai’ (サルの尻笑い) – ‘a monkey’s laughing butt’.
If ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ here, then in Japan you’ll find that ‘too many captains will steer a ship into a mountain’. I suppose ‘sendou ooku shite fune yama ni noboru’ applies because of the legendary Mt. Fuji, but I can’t imagine Bear Grylls commandeering a dinghy up Ben Nevis.
There are, however, some phrases that are pretty much universal:
–          A rolling stone gathers no moss (転げる石には雑草は無い)
–          To kill two birds with one stone (一石二鳥)
–          Time is money (時間は金)
–          You can’t see the wood for the trees  (木を見て森を見ず)
–          The blind leading the blind (盲人が盲人を導く)
–          You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink (馬を水辺に導くことはできるが馬に水を飲ませることはできない)
The next part of this series will sadly be our last, but there’s plenty to look forward to as I’ll be ending on everyone’s favourite topic – cats. Lots and lots of cats…

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