Posted by: Jason | February 13, 2011

Proverbs and Sayings

This came up a lot this week in class, and, funnily enough, it came up a few times around the dinner table as well. Proverbs or sayings. You can tell many things about a culture by its proverbs. Proverbs are short phrases that can often express ideas that are sometimes very difficult to explain. Here’s a few:

Curiosity killed the cat. – This means that sometimes if you ask too many questions, you will learn bad or dangerous things.
Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. – If someone is doing something nice for you, you shouldn’t be mean to them.
Birds of a feather flock together. – People in groups tend to act similarly
A man is known by the company he keeps. – This means that people are often judged by other people by the kinds of friends that they have.
Too many cooks spoil the broth. – Too many people trying to take the lead on a project will often get in each others way and make the project more difficult.

There are many many of these phrases out there. So, here’s a bit of homework for you all. Two things. First, I want you to pick three Japanese proverbs and try to explain them in English. Second, can you tell me what the following proverb means –

“Blood is thicker than water.”?

Put your answers in the comments below. Good luck.


  1. “Blood is thicker than water” this means that family ties is stronger than other ties

  2. hmm.. i thought about that proverb’s meaning, but finally i couldn’t find any answers. 😦

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