Old Lives Tales
Photographs by Hideaki Hamada Translations by Masafumi Kajitani
Keep calm and carry these Japanese proverbs close at hand to live well and gain wisdom.
(ame futte ji katamaru)
LITERALLY: After the rain, earth hardens.
MEANING: Adversity strengthens the foundations. / After a storm, things will stand on more solid ground than they did before.
LITERALLY: scattered clouds, disappearing mist
MEANING: disappear without a trace
LITERALLY: ten men, ten colors
MEANING: To each his/her own. / Different strokes for different folks.
(koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu)
LITERALLY: If you don’t enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.
MEANING: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. / You can’t achieve anything without risking something.
(deru kui wa utareru)
LITERALLY: The stake that sticks out gets hammered down.
MEANING: Don’t make waves. / It’s better to conform than to stick out.
LITERALLY: a monk for just three days
MEANING: giving up easily
(nito wo ou mono wa itto wo mo ezu)
LITERALLY: One who chases after two hares won’t catch even one.
MEANING: Trying to do two things at once will make you fail at both.
LITERALLY: flower, bird, wind, moon
MEANING: the beauties of nature
(iwanu ga hana)
LITERALLY: Not speaking is the flower.
MEANING: Silence is golden. / Some things are better left unsaid.
Photographer Hideaki Hamada is a photographer based in Osaka, Japan. Born in 1977 in Hyogo, he is the father of Haru and Mina (pictured).