Sunday, February 24, 2013

Animals in Proverbs (part 1)

I was wondering if the Japanese proverb with animal would be comprehensible for the other languages speakers when I teach them.

* "killing two birds with one stone"   
一石二鳥」
This one appears often in school textbook as we have the exact literal translation version in Japanese. Through checking, I learned that this proverb is from England in 17th century.

*鶴は千年,亀は万年*
"Crane lives a thousand year and turtle lives a hundred years"  In ancient China, this is believed to be true and also both are taken as an auspicious animal in Japan.



There are 3 proverbs, which indicates useless attempt. 

   (1)*Casting pearls before swine* 「豚に真珠」
    I was surprised to know that it is from the Bible. 

   (2)*Koban to cat*    「猫に小判」
 koban was an oval gold coin used during the Edo    period.   Obviously, cat cannot use them, haha.


   (3)*Buddhist Chant to horse's ears*   
   「馬の耳に念仏」
  An advice you gave someone was like water off a duck's back to him.


*Even a pig could climb up a tree when cheered up*
「豚もおだてりゃ木に登る」
It means "A pig, which is naturally not supposed to climb up a tree, could do it when extremely cheered up."  And it can be taken as an irony; someone, who is the last to be expected to do something, might do it when you cheers him up so much. My late mother used to be very good at this for me when letting me help her house chores p;)

3 comments:

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Miyako,
Loved these proverbs and yes, they most times are very ancient and have been loaned from other cultures as well. The Koban to cat I did not know.
Love your humorous anecdote about your dear Mother about the cheered up pig! But it is true and all those stories did teach us how to see things when we were young.
Thanks for always sharing your bits of wisdom dear friend.
Hugs,
Mariette

orchid Miyako said...

Dearest Mariette、
Wow, thank you SO much for popping over here as well and wonderful comment, my dear friend.
You are quite right and checking these old sayings or cultures we have again for blog, I also relearn my own traditions☆☆☆

Love you always from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

eileeninmd said...

Hello Miyako, I enjoyed the proverbs and photos. Nice memory of your Mom. Thank you for sharing this cute post.