Mizu no Awa

[Japanese Idioms by Flashcards]


bubbles on the water

(all for nothing, effort in vain)

Stopping by a brook and observing water bubbles forming and disappearing, a Japanese may associate those bubbles with the transient nature of life. Used poetically to acknowledge that a great effort was in vain and now has vanished like bubbles on the water.

Sample text:
(Style: spoken/casual/A=female, B=male)

A: Michio-kun no sakkaa ne, are dake doryokushite shiai ni sonoeta noni, toojitsu ame de chuushi ni natta n da tte.
B: Sankagetsu no doryoku mo mizu no owa ka. 
Kowaisooni na.

A: 道男みちお君のサッカーね、あれだけ努力して試合にそなえたのに、当日とうじつ雨で中止になったんだって。
B: 三か月の努力も水のおわか。かわいそうにな。

A: This thing about Michio’s soccer. He practiced so hard, but the game got cancelled because of rain.
B: Three months’ effort was all in vain! Poor thing.

Japanese Idioms

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