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Due to repeated requests, I have made a 2022 calendar pairing photos with some of my favourite Japanese proverbs.
After spending a month in a Zen temple in remote Japan, the monk gave me a proverb:
詠花吟月 (えいか ぎんげつ · eika gingetsu).
Oshou San said it means, in relation to me: ‘She reads the flowers and sings to the moon.’ The underlying meaning is to appreciate nature, beauty, the seasons and live an abundant life.
It is a ‘gift’ I have often treasured. In Japan, the learning of proverbs starts in elementary school. Actually even before that as every New Year, there is a tradition to play Iroha Karuta which is like a memory game using proverbs. As well as proverbs games, there are competitions and examinations. They are a great way to further understand the fascinating culture of Japan.
The ones I have chosen are all yojijukugo (proverbs with four characters / kanji). Some are from Zen Buddhism, some from the Japanese tea ceremony, some are commonly known (fall down seven times, get up eight) and others more obscure. I hope you enjoy them.