Spring ’10 Trips. C’est la Soul Sonic Boogie.


Sign at Heian-Jingu (Shrine).

Sign at Heian-Jingu (Shrine). Kyoto.


For the past week or so I’ve promised various people that I would be posting additional Spring ’10 Trip Information, including pricing and trip package details, “withing the next day or two”.  I’m talking about the group trips here:  the ~ 2-week  “Cherry Blossom Spring”  and the ~ 1-week  “Kyoto Sojourn”  trips.  General itineraries for each are, in fact, up (see top of this page) and anyone who’s emailed me with any questions, including pricing, has received a prompt response.  At any rate, I’m still not quite ready to publish all that to the world at large, but almost there.  I will have that information up before the end of THIS week.  Promise.     Ishi no ue ni mo san nen.

Kotowaza are Japanese proverbs, “wise sayings”.  I use one just above: Ishi no ue ni mo san nen.   The literal translation is “Sit on a rock for 3 years”.  Loses something between the Japanese and the English, indeed.  It means:  “Have patience. Patience.  Patience…”  I think of this one a lot.

Other favorite kotowaza of mine, which can sum-up an emotion, nail a situation, or remind me of an attitude or outlook I need to adopt — and to which I posit you can, or will, relate — include:

Baka ni tsukeru kusuri wa nai. There’s no medicine for (to cure) a fool.

Kaze no naka de sodatta ki wa ne ga tsuyoi. A tree that’s grown up in the wind has strong roots.

Chi mo namida mo nai. [S/he has] neither blood nor tears.

Heh o hitte shiri tsubome. [No use] scrunching-up your bum after the fart.

Saru mo ki kara ochiru. Even monkeys fall from trees.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out their respective “inner meaning”, though I believe each is rather obvious.  If you want to guess or have a question, please feel free to comment below.  I’ll be incorporating these and others into one of my stories — it’s a work in progress.

.  .  .

Taikai no itteki . . . Just one drop in the ocean.    Only a moment in time.  C’est la vie . . . C’est la Soul Sonic Boogie.


    • letsjapan
    • July 30th, 2009

    A quick note on “strange English” (as exemplified in the sign at the top of this post).

    My attitude about this has evolved over the years. Back in the day, in 1984 when I first lived and studied in Japan, it was “just funny”. Much of it still is.

    Then, several years ago, it occurred to me that a living could be made (or supplemented) by proofreading English signs, ads, brochures, websites and various other documents written in English by Japanese novices at my language who were just “winging it” through whatever it was they were tasked to write. That didn’t pan out. I *have* done a great deal of proofreading (and there’s a story of legal business ghostwriting I look forward to telling — while keeping all confidences necessary to comply with ethical canons and obligations), but the “market niche” never really panned out. You see, large companies — Hitachi, Sony, Mitsubishi, etc. — for the most part are careful about their English (or other languages) and have in-house staff or professional translators making more-or-less sure that what’s published is close-to-professional/natural English. But most small to medium sized companies and organizations either can’t afford such translators/proofreaders or, as often as not, don’t really care. It’s not that big a deal if their written English is somewhat “off” (which, I confess, is not too far afield from my spoken Japanese: I *want* to be “spot-on”, but am satisfied if I get across what I want to get across to the listener). So, I pretty much gave up. I *have* provided — at no charge — English proofreading and editing for a Buddhist Temple’s (in Kyoto) website. I didn’t make it *perfect* English, but did upgrade it, so to speak.

    Nowadays, I’ve come to really like Imperfect Japanese English. Not as something to merely find humorous — which, again, it often is — and never to ridicule, but, rather, as something charming and unique. For example, there is a small business in Kyoto that has a website where off-track English is integrated into each, or almost every, sentence. I won’t name the business as I’d be afraid people would look it up just to “gawk”. The business is owned by people I know and they would be happy for me to edit their site. I won’t volunteer to do it and will not even mention the awkwardness of so much of their English as I’d be afraid they’d change it. As it is, the site’s English as sweet and engaging and gives the site added Personality.


  1. December 1st, 2009
  2. December 8th, 2009
  3. March 3rd, 2010

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