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Tired of clichés? Here are some Japanese proverbs to borrow, just to make conversation a little bit more exotic.


Why stop someone from comparing apples and oranges when you can shrug enigmatically and say, “The moon and snapping turtles”?  (tsuki to suppon)

Don’t urge someone to be practical; simply say, “Dumplings outweigh flowers.”  (hana yori dango)

You can encourage people to smile and be nice, or you can say “No one shoots arrows at happy faces.”  (warau kao ni ya tatazu)

Milk and cookies go together.  Salt and pepper complement each other.  How about “Plum trees and nightingales”?  (ume ni uguisu)

Have you seen the dragon motif on a certain brand of Japanese beer?  That’s a “kirin”.  You can call a young person with a bright future a rising star, or you can call him/her “dragon pup”.  (kirin ji) 

One more! 

Why say “many a slip between the cup and the lip” when you could say, “Even when they’re winning, samurai keep their helmets on.”  (katte kabuto no o wo shimeyo)