Jan 12, 2005

Kotowaza of the day: Those sounds in the basement


En no shita no chikara-mochi

Meaning of Japanese:
One who labors unnoticed beneath the floor

English equivalents:
To work behind the scenes
One who pulls the strings
Perform a thankless, unrewarded task


At 1/12/2005 11:15 PM, Blogger Safety Neal said...

This reminds me of a line Jim Hamilton once quoted at me (from an Ezra Pound poem, I think): He who sits and waits also serves.

At 1/13/2005 8:09 PM, Blogger eBohn said...

Okay, you've lost me buddy.
Not only is my Pocket Ezra Pound out of reach, I'm too slow this morning to grok the your quote or how it relates to this kotowaza. It sure seems meaningful, though. Help!

At 1/13/2005 8:11 PM, Blogger eBohn said...

That was "grok your quote." Bloody Blogger comments! Do you know how to edit them?

At 1/13/2005 9:56 PM, Blogger Safety Neal said...

Yo man, I don't know how to edit blogger comments. Maybe someday soon they'll input that functionality.

Sorry if the connection to the kotowaza is obtuse.

The kotowaza conjures up images of servants toiling and working hard in the basement...then I thought of servants not necessarily working hard in the basement, but just waiting at their master's (or mistress') beck and call, like a butler or a maid.

Servants are often treated as non-people by the privileged caste and it doesn't matter if they are out of sight literally...they are out of sight figuratively all the time. The servant is treated as a non-person. That's the connection in my mind, servants working hard...or just standing by waiting for the employer's whim.

Although that's not how Jim meant it at the time. He was thanking me for helping with some manual labor project and I replied that I hadn't actually done anything, that I'd been hanging out waiting for everyone to decide what would be moved where. And that's when Jim told me that he who sits and waits also serves.

At 1/13/2005 10:42 PM, Blogger eBohn said...

Awesome, thanks. I figured the context would be enlightening.
Being conjured in my mind now are remembrances of visits to the DMV (or any other gubment office).


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