Speak English Salon

Kotowaza – Two Rabbits

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I’ve been meaning to give this blog a new lease on life by adding more things that interest me personally, postings related to my own study of the Japanese language and culture, in addition to the English resources for my students I’ve been posting, in the hope that it will attract a larger more varied audience. One of the things I’ve been meaning to write about is Japanese kotowaza, or sayings and proverbs.

The first installment of this series is a saying that occurs to me every time I play tennis:


Ni to wo ou mono wa itto o ezu

He that hunts two hares loses both.


Between two stools you fall to the ground.


Whenever I try to pick up a tennis ball that is near feet before my partner can return a ball to me, 9 out of 10 times I fail to both pick the ball on the ground up and hit the ball that’s flying towards me. And yet, I try, try, try again to get both balls. When will I ever learn?

Another Japanese saying with a similar meaning is abuhachitorazu (アブ蜂取らず):


Chase two hares and catch neither.


If you are too greedy, you’ll end up with nothing at all.


You have one girlfriend. Don’t start after another. You’ll fall between two stools.


She had to choose between a career and marriage. She knew she couldn’t have it both ways.


Speak! English Salon/スピーク英会話サロン




Author: Aonghas Crowe

Aonghas (pron. "Ennis") Crowe is an author, writer, blogger, and translator. He splits his time between Fukuoka, Japan and Beirut, Lebanon. Read more by Aonghas Crowe at www.aonghascrowe.com

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