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The name Always Be Prepared in Chinese / Japanese...

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Personalize your custom “Always Be Prepared” project by clicking the button next to your favorite “Always Be Prepared” title below...


  1. Fix the roof before the rain; Dig the well before you are thirsty

  2. Mind of the Beginner

  3. Broken Mirror Rejoined

  4. Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

  5. Flying Tigers AVG

  6. Always Be Prepared

  7. Preparation Yields No Fear or Worries

  8. Preparation Yields No Regrets

  9. Tea

10. Have a Walking Stick at the Ready Before You Stumble

11. Alert / On Guard / Lingering Mind


Fix the roof before the rain; Dig the well before you are thirsty

 bǔ lòu chèn tiān qíng wèi kě xiān jué jǐng
Fix the roof before the rain; Dig the well before you are thirsty Scroll

补漏趁天晴未渴先掘井 is a Chinese proverb that literally translates as: Mend the roof while the weather is fine, [and when you are] not yet thirsty, dig the well beforehand.

In simple terms, this means: Always being prepared in advance.


See Also:  Have a Walking Stick at the Ready Before You Stumble

Mind of the Beginner

Shoshin

 chū xīn
 sho shin
Mind of the Beginner Scroll

初心 is often translated in Japanese as “beginner's mind” or “beginner's spirit.”

In Chinese, the dictionary definition is “one's original intention.”

The first character means first, initial, primary, junior, beginning, or basic.

The second character means heart, mind, soul, or essence.

初心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo) and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context, places such as the Budo Dojo define it this way: The state of shoshin is that of a beginners mind. It is a state of awareness that always remains fully conscious, aware, and prepared to see things for the first time. The attitude of shoshin is essential to continued learning.

Broken Mirror Rejoined

Used in modern times for divorced couples that come back together

 pò jìng chóng yuán
Broken Mirror Rejoined Scroll

破鏡重圓 is about a husband and wife who were separated and reunited.

About 1500 years ago in China, there lived a beautiful princess named Le Chang. She and her husband Xu De Yan loved each other very much. But when the army of the Sui Dynasty was about to attack their kingdom, disposed of all of their worldly possessions and prepared to flee into exile.

They knew that in the chaos, they might lose track of each other, so the one possession they kept was a bronze mirror which is a symbol of unity for a husband and wife. They broke the mirror into two pieces, and each of them kept half of the mirror. They decided that if separated, they would try to meet at the fair during the 15th day of the first lunar month (which is the lantern festival). Unfortunately, the occupation was brutal, and the princess was forced to become the mistress of the new commissioner of the territory, Yang Su.

At the Lantern Festival the next year, the husband came to the fair to search for his wife. He carried with him his half of the mirror. As he walked through the fair, he saw the other half of the mirror for sale at a junk market by a servant of the commissioner. The husband recognized his wife's half of the mirror immediately, and tears rolled down his face as he was told by the servant about the bitter and loveless life that the princess had endured.

As his tears dripped onto the mirror, the husband scratched a poem into his wife's half of the mirror:


You left me with the severed mirror,
The mirror has returned, but absent are you,
As I gaze in the mirror, I seek your face,
I see the moon, but as for you, I see not a trace.


The servant brought the inscribed half of the mirror back to the princess. For many days, the princess could not stop crying when she found that her husband was alive and still loved her.

Commissioner Yang Su, becoming aware of this saga, realized that he could never obtain the princess's love. He sent for the husband and allowed them to reunite.

This proverb, 破鏡重圓, is now used to describe a couple who has been torn apart for some reason (usually divorce) but have come back together (or remarried).
It seems to be more common these days in America for divorced couples to reconcile and get married to each other again. This will be a great gift if you know someone who is about to remarry their ex.

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

Always rising after a fall or repeated failures

 shichi ten hakki / nana korobi ya oki
Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight Scroll

七転八起 is a Japanese proverb that relays the vicissitudes of life, with the meaning “seven times down eight times up.”

Some would more naturally translate it into English as “Always rising after a fall or repeated failures” or compare it to the English, “If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again.”

The first Kanji is literally “7.” The second means “fall down” (sometimes this Kanji means “turn around,” “revolve” or “turn over” but in this case, it holds the meaning of “fall”). The third is “8.” And the last is “get up,” “rouse,” or “rise.”

Basically, if you fail 7 times, you should recover from those events and be prepared to rise an 8th time. This also applies if it is the world or circumstances that knock you down seven times...
...just remember that you have the ability to bounce back from any kind of adversity.

Note: This can be pronounced in two ways. One is “shichi ten hakki” or “shichitenhakki.” The other is “nana korobi ya oki” also written, “nanakorobi-yaoki.”

Special Note: The second character is a Kanji that is not used in China. Therefore, please select a Japanese calligrapher for this title.

Flying Tigers AVG

 fēi hǔ duì
Flying Tigers AVG Scroll

飛虎隊 is the full Chinese title of the “Flying Tigers Group.”

These were the American pilots that volunteered to go to China and fight the Japanese before the entry of the USA into World War Two. These fighter pilots were so esteemed in China that fallen American pilots could always find refuge in villages and safe passage and escape to areas of China that were not occupied by Japan at that time. Chinese villagers helped such fallen pilots with full knowledge that when the Japanese occupation forces found out, all the men, women, and children in the village would be massacred by Japanese troops (there are more than a few known cases of such massacres).

The Flying Tigers successfully kept supply lines to the Chinese resistance open and divided Japanese forces at a crucial time while America prepared to join WWII officially.

A wall scroll like this honors the men who risked or gave their lives as noble volunteers and is a reminder of the best moment in the history of Sino-American relations.

These three characters literally mean “flying tiger(s) group/team/squad.”


Note: Hanging these characters on your wall will not make you any friends with Japanese people who are aware or this history (most Japanese have no idea, as Japan’s involvement in WWII has all but been erased from school textbooks in Japan).

Always Be Prepared

 bǎo dài gān liáng nuǎn dài yī
Always Be Prepared Scroll

饱带干粮暖带衣 is a proverb that translates as:
Carry [extra] food when [you are] full and [extra] clothes when [you are] warm.

Figuratively, this means:
Always be prepared for a rainy day.

Preparation Yields No Fear or Worries

 yǒu bèi wú huàn
Preparation Yields No Fear or Worries Scroll

有備無患 means “When you are well-prepared, you have nothing to fear.”

Noting that the third character means “no” or “without” and modifies the last... The last character can mean misfortune, troubles, worries, or fears. It could even be stretched to mean sickness. Therefore you can translate this proverb in a few ways. I've also seen it translated as “Preparedness forestalls calamities.”

有備無患 is comparable to the English idiom, “Better safe than sorry,” but does not directly/literally mean this.

Preparation Yields No Regrets

 sona e a re ba ure i na shi
Preparation Yields No Regrets Scroll

備え有れば憂い無し is as proverb that means “When you are well-prepared, you have nothing to regret” in Japanese.


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

 chá
 cha
 
Tea Scroll

茶 means tea. It can refer to prepared tea (ready-to-drink) or dry tea leaves.

The origin of tea is China but the same character is used in Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja with the exact same meaning. Japanese and Korean even borrowed the pronunciation from Chinese (pronounced “cha” in all three languages).

It's said that an early doctor (or herbologist) in ancient China kept poisoning himself as he tried different new herb concoctions. He invented tea as a means to detoxify himself as he recovered from 1 of the 76 times he nearly poisoned himself to death. Tea is seen not just as a drink but as a form of medicine used to remove impurities from the body.

The word “chai” (used in many languages to refer to various teas) is derived from this Chinese word.

茶 also means camellia, as Asian teas are often based on the leaves of camellia plant varieties.

Have a Walking Stick at the Ready Before You Stumble

 koro ba nu saki no tsue
Have a Walking Stick at the Ready Before You Stumble Scroll

転ばぬ先の杖 is a Japanese proverb that literally translates as: Have a walking stick ready before stumbling.

This is similar to the English idiom, “A stitch in time saves nine.”

In simple terms, this means: Always being prepared in advance.


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.


See Also:  Fix Roof Before the Rain; Dig the Well Before You Are Thirsty

Alert / On Guard / Lingering Mind

Zanshin

 zan shin
Alert / On Guard / Lingering Mind Scroll

残心 is a Japanese Kanji word meaning: continued alertness; unrelaxed alertness; remaining on one's guard; lingering mind, and being prepared for a counterstrike. This context is used in martial arts, which is probably why you are looking up this word.

In archery and golf, it can be the follow-through.

In the context of love and relationships, it can be lingering affection, attachment, regret, regrets, or reluctance.




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Fix the roof before the rain; Dig the well before you are thirsty補漏趁天晴未渴先掘井
补漏趁天晴未渴先掘井
bǔ lòu chèn tiān qíng wèi kě xiān jué jǐng
bu3 lou4 chen4 tian1 qing2 wei4 ke3 xian1 jue2 jing3
bu lou chen tian qing wei ke xian jue jing
pu lou ch`en t`ien ch`ing wei k`o hsien chüeh ching
pu lou chen tien ching wei ko hsien chüeh ching
Mind of the Beginner初心sho shin / shoshinchū xīn / chu1 xin1 / chu xin / chuxinch`u hsin / chuhsin / chu hsin
Broken Mirror Rejoined破鏡重圓
破镜重圆
pò jìng chóng yuán
po4 jing4 chong2 yuan2
po jing chong yuan
pojingchongyuan
p`o ching ch`ung yüan
pochingchungyüan
po ching chung yüan
Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight七転八起shichi ten hakki / nana korobi ya oki
shichi ten haki / nana korobi ya oki
Flying Tigers AVG飛虎隊
飞虎队
fēi hǔ duì
fei1 hu3 dui4
fei hu dui
feihudui
fei hu tui
feihutui
Always Be Prepared飽帶干糧暖帶衣
饱带干粮暖带衣
bǎo dài gān liáng nuǎn dài yī
bao3 dai4 gan1 liang2 nuan3 dai4 yi1
bao dai gan liang nuan dai yi
baodaiganliangnuandaiyi
pao tai kan liang nuan tai i
paotaikanliangnuantaii
Preparation Yields No Fear or Worries有備無患
有备无患
yǒu bèi wú huàn
you3 bei4 wu2 huan4
you bei wu huan
youbeiwuhuan
yu pei wu huan
yupeiwuhuan
Preparation Yields No Regrets備え有れば憂い無しsona e a re ba ure i na shi
sonaearebaureinashi
Teachachá / cha2 / chach`a / cha
Have a Walking Stick at the Ready Before You Stumble転ばぬ先の杖koro ba nu saki no tsue
korobanusakinotsue
Alert
On Guard
Lingering Mind
残心zan shin / zanshin
In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.


Dictionary

Lookup Always Be Prepared in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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A professional Chinese Calligrapher

Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.

There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.


Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

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