馬 uma


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Be ready for a galloping year of the horse where things might not be as they look like in this Japanese proverb:

“Ningen banji saiou ga uma” is one of the Japanese proverbs. The literal translation is “All human affairs are like Saiou’s horse”. It means, “One can never know what will prove to be lucky or unlucky”.  The meaning came from a Chinese folk tale about an old man called Sai. ( “~ ou”, also read as okina, means “old man”.) Here is the story.

Once upon a time, an old man, Sai, lived near the Chinese Northern Fort. One day his horse ran away. His neighbors commiserated with him over his misfortune, but Sai said “How do you know this is not really good luck?”. A few days later the horse returned, bringing another horse with it. However when his neighbors congratulated him on his good luck, the old man said “How do you know this is really good luck?” Sure enough, some while later Sai’s son fell while riding the horse, and broke his leg. However this turned out to be good fortune when all the young men of the village were ordered to join the Emperor’s army. Sai’s son didn’t have to go since he had a broken leg.

From http://japanese.about.com/library/weekly/aa011302b.htm

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