‘Seagulls keep ploppin’
on our training pitch’ they say
Come off it Springboks!!
So South Africa are apparently claiming that their training ground has been ruined by seagulls’ stools. Hmmm. Not quite the melody of Andy Williams’ ‘Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head’ album (or the single of the same name written for the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance film in 1969 and released afterwards as a single by a BJ Thomas). I saw the headline ‘Springboks blame defeat on seagulls’ and was both amused and intrigued so I thought I’d click and read on. I thought they were going to get all philosophical about seagulls like a certain Frenchman who once played in the English premier league and who is now an actor. But nope, it’s a plain old excuse which will no doubt make them look very foolish and like the sorest losers ever. They were unprepared obviously, thanks or not to passing birds, and perhaps a bit arrogant. Well, they are one of the greatest teams in rugby, ever, but as anyone watching would have seen, they were not on the ball (pun intended) at all. Not to take anything away from the Brave Blossoms who are probably a bit offended that their victory has been reduced to the influence of seagulls. Well, they could quote one of their many four character idioms – 四字熟語 – to them:
油断大敵・ゆだんたいてき - ‘Lack of preparation is your greatest enemy’ which can also translate as ‘Overconfidence is dangerous’.
Also expressed (by another temperamental ex-footballer, Irish this time) as: Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail
Some of these 四字熟語・よじじゅくご originate from Chinese classics, others from Buddhist scriptures and yet others from English proverbs (such as Killing two birds with one stone 一石二鳥・いっせきにちょう*). There are loads of them. I come across a lot of them in studying Japanese at http://www.readthekanji.com. Great place to learn vocabulary in context and not just by itself as in Memrise.
(*Also rendered as 一挙両得・いっきょりょうとく but the form above is the closest translation)