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Japanese Flowers in Provebs
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Relationship with Nature: Cherry Blossom
Proverbial Fish

There are quite a few Japanese proverbs that include flowers. Flower is "hana" in Japanese. Although "hana" also means "nose", it should be obvious by the context what is meant, so don't worry. Also, they appear different when written in kanji (as they do not share the same kanji characters). Click here to learn the kanji character for flowers.

Here are some expressions including the word flower.

Iwanu ga hana 言わぬが花

Literally translated as, "Not speaking is the flower." It means, "Some things are better left unsaid; Silence is golden."

Takane no hana 高嶺の花

Literally translated as, "Flower on a high peak." It means, "something out of one's reach." Some things are beautiful to look at, but realistically, there is no way you can get them. The object might be something that you want very much but can't have it.

Hana ni arashi 花に嵐

There is a famous Japanese saying, "Tsuki ni muragumo, hana ni arashi (Clouds over the moon, a storm over blossoms)". This idiom is a shortened version of, "XXXX". It means that life often brings misfortune at a time of great happiness.

Hana yori dango 花より団子

Literally translated as, "Dumplings rather than flowers". It means that the practical is preferred over the aesthetic. In spring, the Japanese traditionally go to the countryside or parks for flower viewing (hanami). However, they often seem to be more interested in eating or drinking alcohol than appreciating the beauty of the flowers. It is an example of the fickle nature of humans.

Tonari no hana wa akai 隣の花は赤い

Literally translated as, "The neighbor's flowers are red". It means that the grass is always greener on the other side. There is also another saying, "Tonari no shibafu wa aoi (The neighbor's lawn is green)".

Other Idioms

Hanashi ni hana ga saku
話に花が咲く
To have a lively discussion.
Hana o motaseru
花を持たせる
To let someone have the credit for something.
Hana o sakaseru
花を咲かせる
To succeed.
Hana to chiru
花と散る
To die gracefully.
Ryoute ni hana
両手に花
To have a double advantage,
to be between two pretty women.

Flower Vocabulary

asagao
朝顔
morning glory
kiku
chrysanthemum
suisen
水仙
daffodil
bara
薔薇
rose
yuri
百合
lily
himawari
ひまわり
sunflower
chuurippu
チューリップ
tulip
hinagiku
ひなぎく
daisy
ayame
あやめ
iris
ran
orchid
kosumosu
コスモス
cosmos
sumire
すみれ
violet
tanpopo
タンポポ
dandelion
ajisai
あじさい
hydrangea
suiren
睡蓮
water lily


Click here to read the article "Relationships with Nature: Cherry Blossom."

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