Fungus Mungus' Weird Stuff in Japan

A chronicle of general weirdness I've encountered during my stay in Japan.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Even Monkeys Fall out of Trees

This isn't so much a weird story as it is a mildly amusing one. At least, I think it is.

The other day, my girlfriend was practicing Shodo (Japanese calligraphy). She holds a 6th dan level in shodo, so I consider her an expert. She was writing the Japanese proverb 七転八起 (Shichi Ten hakki), which means "Fall down 7 times, rise the 8th time.". In other words, "Try and tray again". It's a nice proverb.

While looking up the kanji in the dictionary to verify it, as she often does before she commits anything to rice paper, she inadvertently glanced at the entry directly below the one she looked up. Thus, she commited 七転八倒 to paper.

It was beautiful.

She looked at it for a moment and then a look of confusion spread across her face. Then she consulted her dictionary again. Confusion gave way to amusement and the next thing I knew, she was rolling on the floor laughing until tears came streaming down her face. 七転八倒 (Shichi Ten batto) means "writhing in agony". One kanji made all the difference.

This brings to mind another Japanese proverb I rather like: 猿も木から落ちる (Saru mo ki kara ochiru). It means "Even monkeys fall out of trees", which I will leave for you to figure out.


Blogger MKULTRA said...

I presume you mean "Like minds communicate without words", not "worlds"?

Fortunately, I have a tacit understanding of the situation...

3:31 PM  
Blogger Fungus Mungus said...

Uh yeah. I was tired when I wrote that. Thanks for pointing that out.


3:33 AM  
Blogger Fungus Mungus said...

Yeah, I was tired when I wrote that. Thanks for pointing out the typo.


3:34 AM  
Blogger pj said...

we all have room for times monkeys do fall out of trees.

1:48 PM  

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