Always Try to Do Better in Chinese / Japanese...

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  1. Always Try to do Better

  2. Progress / Ambition

  3. Kai Zen / Kaizen

  4. Great Aspirations / Ambition

  5. Heroic Spirit / Great Ambition

  6. Ambition

  7. Great Aspirations / Ambition

  8. Realize Your Ambitions / Ride on the Crest of Success

  9. Realize Your Ambitions / Embrace Your Ambition

10. Without a big net, how can you catch fish?

11. Fear not long roads; Fear only short ambition

12. Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions


Always Try to do Better

sara ni ue o me za su
Always Try to do Better Scroll

This Japanese proverb literally translates as: [After having achieved a fair degree of success,] one should still try to do better.

Others may translate this as, "Always try to improve", or "Always try to be better".


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


See Also:  Never Give Up

Progress / Ambition

shàng jìn
joushin
Progress / Ambition Scroll

This Chinese and Japanese word means to make progress, to do better, ambition to improve oneself, to move forward, to advance.

This should be romanized as Joushin but is often written Joshin from Japanese. It can also be a given name in Japanese.

Kai Zen / Kaizen

gǎi shàn
kai zen
Kai Zen / Kaizen Scroll

改善 means betterment, improvement, to make better, or to improve - specifically incremental and continuous improvement.

改善 became very important in post-war Japan when Edwards Deming came to Japan to teach concepts of incremental and continuous improvement (for which the big 3 auto-makers did not want to hear about at the time - even kicking Deming out of their offices). The Japanese workforce absorbed this concept at a time with their culture was in flux and primed for change.

This kaizen term is closely associated with the western title "Total Quality Management". Perhaps dear to my heart since I spent years studying this at university before I moved to China where TQM did not seem to exist. Slowly, this concept has entered China as well (I've actually given lectures on the subject in Beijing).

If you are trying to improve processes at your business or need to remind yourself of your continuous TQM goals, this would be a great wall scroll to hang behind your desk, or in your workplace.


See Also:  Kansei

Great Aspirations / Ambition

tai shi wo idaku
Great Aspirations / Ambition Scroll

大志を抱 is a single Japanese word that kind of reads like a short proverb.

It suggests that you should have "high aims", "ambitions", or "aspirations" in your life.

Heroic Spirit / Great Ambition

xióng xīn
yuushin
Heroic Spirit / Great Ambition Scroll

雄心 is the Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji for great ambition, lofty aspiration, or heroic spirit.

yě wàng
yabou
Ambition Scroll

野望 means ambition or aspiration in Japanese Kanji and old Korean Hanja.

Great Aspirations / Ambition

hóng hú zhī zhì
Great Aspirations / Ambition Scroll

This Chinese proverb implies that having great ambitions also means that others will not understand your great expectations and ideas.

Though the actual words come from a longer saying of Confucius which goes, "The little swallows living under the eaves wouldn't understand the lofty ambitions of a swan (who flies far and wide)".

This Confucius quote has led to this idiomatic expression in China that means "think big". What you'd really be saying is "The lofty ambitions of a swan".

Note that Chinese people sometimes refer to the little swallow, as one who does not "think big" but is, instead, stuck in a rut, or just leading a mundane life. Therefore, it's a compliment to be called a swan but not a good thing to be called a swallow.

Realize Your Ambitions / Ride on the Crest of Success

dà jiǎn hóng tú
Realize Your Ambitions / Ride on the Crest of Success Scroll

This four-character proverb is used in Chinese to mean "realize your ambitions" or "exhibit your ambition and success".

It's used to talk about someone with great career ambitions. Almost literally, it expresses the idea of someone unfolding a great career like a map or a set of blueprint plans.

Very literally translated, these four characters mean, "Great unfolding of a huge map" or "Great exhibition of a colossal plan".

Realize Your Ambitions / Embrace Your Ambition

taishi wo Idaku
Realize Your Ambitions / Embrace Your Ambition Scroll

This Japanese proverb suggests that you should embrace, pursue, and realize your ambitions.

The first part means ambitions or aspirations.

The last part means to embrace, or to hold in your arms.

Here's the character breakdown:
大志 (taishi) ambition; aspiration.
を (o) particle
抱く (idaku) to embrace; to hold in the arms (e.g. a baby); to hug; to harbor (harbour); to bear (e.g. a grudge); to entertain (e.g. suspicion); to sleep with; to sit on eggs.


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

Without a big net, how can you catch fish?

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

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.

不撒大網不得大魚 is sort of the fishing version of, "No pain, no gain".

Fear not long roads; Fear only short ambition

bú pà lù yuǎn zhǐ pà zhì duǎn
Fear not long roads; Fear only short ambition Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as, "Fear not a long roads; fear only short ambition", or "Don't fear that the road is long, only fear that your will/ambition/aspiration is short".

Figuratively, this means: However difficult the goal is, one can achieve it as long as one is determined to do so.

Others may translate the meaning as, "Don't let a lack of willpower stop you from pressing onwards in your journey".

Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions

bú pà rén qióng zhǐ pà zhì duǎn
Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: It is not poverty that is to be feared; It is low ambition.

Figuratively, this means: It is not poverty but lack of lofty aspiration that is to be regretted.




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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
Always Try to do Better更に上を目指すsara ni ue o me za su
saraniueomezasu
Progress
Ambition
上進
上进
joushin / joshinshàng jìn
shang4 jin4
shang jin
shangjin
shang chin
shangchin
Kai Zen
Kaizen
改善kai zen / kaizengǎi shàn / gai3 shan4 / gai shan / gaishankai shan / kaishan
Great Aspirations
Ambition
大志を抱tai shi wo idaku
taishiwoidaku
Heroic Spirit
Great Ambition
雄心yuushin / yushinxióng xīn
xiong2 xin1
xiong xin
xiongxin
hsiung hsin
hsiunghsin
Ambition野望yabou / yaboyě wàng / /
Great Aspirations
Ambition
鴻鵠之誌
鸿鹄之志
hóng hú zhī zhì
hong2 hu2 zhi1 zhi4
hong hu zhi zhi
honghuzhizhi
hung hu chih chih
hunghuchihchih
Realize Your Ambitions
Ride on the Crest of Success
大展宏圖
大展宏图
dà jiǎn hóng tú
da4 jian3 hong2 tu2
da jian hong tu
dajianhongtu
ta chien hung t`u
tachienhungtu
ta chien hung tu
Realize Your Ambitions
Embrace Your Ambition
大志を抱くtaishi wo Idaku
taishiwoIdaku
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
Fear not long roads; Fear only short ambition不怕路遠隻怕志短
不怕路远只怕志短
bú pà lù yuǎn zhǐ pà zhì duǎn
bu2 pa4 lu4 yuan3 zhi3 pa4 zhi4 duan3
bu pa lu yuan zhi pa zhi duan
bupaluyuanzhipazhiduan
pu p`a lu yüan chih p`a chih tuan
pu pa lu yüan chih pa chih tuan
Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions不怕人窮隻怕志短
不怕人穷只怕志短
bú pà rén qióng zhǐ pà zhì duǎn
bu2 pa4 ren2 qiong2 zhi3 pa4 zhi4 duan3
bu pa ren qiong zhi pa zhi duan
buparenqiongzhipazhiduan
pu p`a jen ch`iung chih p`a chih tuan
pu pa jen chiung chih pa chih tuan
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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Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions Scroll
Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions Scroll
Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions Scroll
Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions Scroll


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Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions Vertical Portrait
Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions Horizontal Wall Scroll
Do not fear poverty; Fear low ambitions Vertical Portrait
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Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

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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.

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