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Social Studies
Grade: Senior

#1554. Fun with Proverbs

Social Studies, level: Senior
Posted Wed Feb 2 19:20:05 PST 2000 by Thad Schmenk (
Matsuyama Board of Education, Japan
Activity Time: as long as you see fit
Concepts Taught: learning about other cultures


1. Having been shown several Japanese proverbs, the students will guess the meaning of each proverb and say the English version of the proverb if possible.

2. The students will be introduce to an aspect of Japanese culture.

I have had lots of fun posting the English proverbs and having the students guess the corresponding proverb in Japanese. I am sure it will work in reverse.

This is a great way to learn about other cultures and how they look at things. Additionally, it may spark an interest in your students to learn more about Japan.

Can you guess the English equivalents?

1. Even a packhorse driver looks fine in proper dress.

2. Even monkeys fall from trees.

3. Even a thousand mile journey begins with the first step.

4. One coin saved, a hundred lost.

5. An evil act runs a thousand miles.

6. You can not get clams from a field.

7. The reverse side has its reverse side.

8. Do not estimate the value of the skin of a badger before you catch the badger.

9. Even dust amassed will grow into a mountain.

10. The child of a frog is a frog.

11. The protruding nail will be hammered.

12. Ten men, ten tastes.

13. Boil and drink another manfs finger nail dirt.

14. Rust comes from within the body.

15. A clever hawk hides its claws.

16. One might study calligraphy even at eighty.

17. Good medicine tastes bitter in the mouth.

18. When the hand is put in, the foot follows.

Here are the English equivalents:

1. Clothes make the man.

2. Anybody can make a mistake.

3. You have to start somewhere.

4. Penny-wise, pound-foolish.

5. Bad news travels fast.

6. You can not get blood from a stone.

7. There are wheels within wheels.

8. Do not count your chickens before they hatch.

9. Great oaks grow from little acorns.

10. Like father, like son.

11. Do not make waves.

12. To each his own.

13. Walk a mile in another manfs shoes.

14. As you make your bed, so must you lie in it.

15. He who knows most, speaks least.

16. It is never to late to learn.

17. Good advice is hard to swallow. // good advice when most needed is least heeded.

18. Draw back while there is still time.