Learn the Wisdom of Japan Through Twitter Proverbs
One of the themes I write about a lot on J-List is that Japan generally seems to be “behind” the West socially and technologically, something Japanese themselves often observe. If there’s an important social change taking root in the U.S. or Europe, you can bet good money that it will filter through to Japan about a decade later.
While most social media users in the West are using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, in Japan Twitter is still king of the hill, in much the same way that Yahoo Japan is still a vibrant company providing valuable services to Internet users, while in the U.S. it’s basically become the AOL of our age.
One fun trend that’s started recently is ツイッターことわざ Twitter Kotowaza or Twitter Proverbs, which are amusing twists on real Japanese wisdom posted by Twitter users. I’ve picked out some of the more interesting Twitter proverbs to share with you here.
- 論よりソース (via)
A parody of 論より証拠 / rather then debating an issue, look at the evidence (or if you like, the proof of the pudding is in the eating). But this version says, “Rather than debating, just post the ‘sauce’ [the web link containing the origin of the information].” Incidentally, the sauce/source pun works in Japanese the same as in English, and it probably originated in Japan.
A parody of 悪事千里を走る / bad news travels fast, but this version says “Bad news will receive 1000 retweets.”
- 100RTを追う者は1RTをも得ず (via)
A take on 二兎を追う者は一兎をも得ず / he who tries to chase two rabbits ends up with none (aka “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”), this bit of wisdom says, “He who tries to get 100 retweets will end up with none.”
- 井の中の蛙、大海で炎上 (via)
A twist on 井の中の蛙大海を知らず / the frog in the well knows nothing of the great ocean, aka someone who never leaves his small town knows nothing of the wider world around him. This joke version says, “The frog in the well has his Twitter feed swamped with random comments from stupid users all over the Internet.”
- トレンドは熱いうちに打て (via)
A parody of 鉄は熱いうちに打て, the Japanese version of strike while the iron is hot. This says basically, “Strike while the Twitter trending keyword is hot.”
- 不幸中のwi-fi (via)
A word often used in Japanese is 不幸中の幸い / a silver lining in the midst of unhappiness. But this version means “Wi-fi internet access in the midst of unhappiness.” Or, life sucks, but at least we still have wifi.