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Catch Me if You Can in Chinese / Japanese...

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  1. Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice
  2. Without a big net, how can you catch fish?
  3. How can you catch tiger cubs...
  4. Luo
  5. Drain the pond to get all the fish

Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice

Ability is more important than looks
China bù guǎn hēi māo bái māo néng zhuō zhe lǎo shǔ de jiù shì hǎo mǎo
Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice

This literally translates as: It doesn't matter [if a] cat [is] black [or] white, [as long as it] can catch mice, it's a good cat.

This proverb was either composed or made famous by Deng XiaoPing in 1961 when he exclaimed, "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat so long as it catches mice" when his critics pointed out that his ideas were Capitalistic (free market). The response was meant to say, "It does not matter if it's Communist or Capitalist, as long as it works."

This Chinese proverb can be used to suggest one should disregard looks or a person's race, as long as they can do the job. It can also be used as a metaphor for many other situations.


Deng XiaoPing probably saved China from collapse (as the Soviet Union experienced). He changed China's economy from pure Communism to a hybrid where the free market (Capitalism) is encouraged. More about Deng XiaoPing

Without a big net, how can you catch fish?

China bù sā dà wǎng bù dé dà yú
Without a big net, how can you catch fish?

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [if one does] not cast a big net, [one can] not get big fish.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot make great accomplishments without making great efforts or taking great pains.

This is sort of the fishing version of, "No pain, no gain."

How can you catch tiger cubs
without entering the lair of the tiger?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained
China bú rù hǔ xué yān dé hǔ zǐ
How can you catch tiger cubs / without entering the lair of the tiger?

While perhaps no longer politically correct, this Chinese proverb is a reminder that you must take risks if you want reward.

This is similar to the English proverb, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

The literal word order of the Chinese is, "If (you) don't enter the tiger's lair/cave, how can (you) get/obtain tiger cubs?."

How can you catch tiger cubs
without entering the lair of the tiger?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Japan koketsu ni haira zun ba tora ko o e zu
How can you catch tiger cubs / without entering the lair of the tiger?

This is the Japanese version of an ancient Chinese proverb. This is a reminder that you must take risks if you want reward.

This is similar to the English proverb, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."


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

Luo

Surname
China luō
Japan ra
Luo

羅 is a character that can be the Chinese surname Luo.

This can also be the Japanese surname Ra, Ami, Ai, Rou, or Ro (and a few others).

The meaning is to collect, to gather, to catch, or to sift. It may also refer to gauze, a lightweight fabric, or thin silk.

Drain the pond to get all the fish

Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs
China jié zé ér yú
Drain the pond to get all the fish

In 632 BC, Duke Wen of the Kingdom of Jin was about to lead an army against the forces of the Kingdom of Chu.
The Duke asked one of his advisers, Jiu Fan, how they could possibly win the impending battle, as they were drastically outnumbered.
Jiu Fan said, "All is fair in war," and went on to suggest a plan of dishonorable tactics (cheating).
The Duke was not sure of this advice, so he asked another adviser, Yong Ji, who replied, "If you catch fish by draining the pond, you can certainly get all the fish. But there will be no fish the following year. You can cheat this one time in battle but such tactics can only be used once, as the enemy will be wise in future encounters."

The Duke heard the words of his wiser adviser but cheated to gain victory in the battle. However, he rewarded Yong Ji more than Jiu Fan at the victory celebration, stating that while Jiu Fan's advice gained one victory, the wise words of Yong Ji would last forever.

This Chinese idiom/proverb is still used, over 2600 years later to remind people not to burn bridges, cheat, or dishonor oneself in exchange for a short term gain, while sacrificing the future.

竭澤而漁 is very similar to the meaning of the English phrase, "Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs."

Search for Catch Me if You Can in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




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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
Black or white cat matters not as long as it can catch mice不管黑貓白貓能捉著老鼠的就是好貓
不管黑猫白猫能捉着老鼠的就是好猫
bù guǎn hēi māo bái māo néng zhuō zhe lǎo shǔ de jiù shì hǎo mǎo
bu4 guan3 hei1 mao1 bai2 mao1 neng2 zhuo1 zhe lao3 shu3 de jiu4 shi4 hao3 mao3
bu guan hei mao bai mao neng zhuo zhe lao shu de jiu shi hao mao
pu kuan hei mao pai mao neng cho che lao shu te chiu shih hao mao
Without a big net, how can you catch fish?不撒大網不得大魚
不撒大网不得大鱼
bù sā dà wǎng bù dé dà yú
bu4 sa1 da4 wang3 bu4 de2 da4 yu2
bu sa da wang bu de da yu
busadawangbudedayu
pu sa ta wang pu te ta yü
pusatawangputetayü
How can you catch tiger cubs
without entering the lair of the tiger?
不入虎穴焉得虎子bú rù hǔ xué yān dé hǔ zǐ
bu2 ru4 hu3 xue2 yan1 de2 hu3 zi3
bu ru hu xue yan de hu zi
buruhuxueyandehuzi
pu ju hu hsüeh yen te hu tzu
pujuhuhsüehyentehutzu
How can you catch tiger cubs
without entering the lair of the tiger?
虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ずkoketsu ni haira zun ba tora ko o e zu
Luo
raluō / luo1 / luolo
Drain the pond to get all the fish竭澤而漁
竭泽而渔
jié zé ér yú
jie2 ze2 er2 yu2
jie ze er yu
jiezeeryu
chieh tse erh yü
chiehtseerhyü
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.



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All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.

When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.

Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

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.

Some people may refer to this entry as Catch Me if You Can Kanji, Catch Me if You Can Characters, Catch Me if You Can in Mandarin Chinese, Catch Me if You Can Characters, Catch Me if You Can in Chinese Writing, Catch Me if You Can in Japanese Writing, Catch Me if You Can in Asian Writing, Catch Me if You Can Ideograms, Chinese Catch Me if You Can symbols, Catch Me if You Can Hieroglyphics, Catch Me if You Can Glyphs, Catch Me if You Can in Chinese Letters, Catch Me if You Can Hanzi, Catch Me if You Can in Japanese Kanji, Catch Me if You Can Pictograms, Catch Me if You Can in the Chinese Written-Language, or Catch Me if You Can in the Japanese Written-Language.