For the Japanese, moss is something to be admired. Associated with beauty, moss grows on rocks and in pathways of old temples in places like Kyoto. Yet the stone that continues to tumble will never have moss. So this expression is often used to admonish others to stay put, to continue on in the same job. Ironically, this expression is also used by some Japanese to mean the very opposite, i.e., the meaning understood by Americans: keep moving or you’ll get old.
A: Kondo irashita Tayama fukushachoo ne, rippana katarashii wa nee. Mooshibun nai hitogara tte uwasa yo.
B: Soo na n da. Sore ni tottemo kenkyode, ibatteiru tokoro ga mattaku nai hito rashii ne.
A: “Minoru hodo atama no sagaru inaho kana” tte kotowaza ga pittari no kata yo.
A: You know the new vice-president Tayama. I hear he’s a wonderful person. They say his personality is just ideal.
B: I agree. Besides, he seems to be humble and never arrogant.
A: He’s the type that perfectly fits the proverb, “The mature rice plant lowers its head.”