Japanese Proverb: 猫に小判 To Cast Pearls Before Swine


[ねこ に こばん neko ni koban]

Cast Pearls Before Swine

[audio http://thejapanesepage.com/audio_files/kotowaza/1neko.mp3 ]

 This is a useful and common Japanese proverb that is similar to the biblical “cast pearls before swine.” Literally, this means to give a cat a koban.

A koban was an oval-shaped coin used in the Edo Period. Being valuable, giving one to a cat naturally would be foolish.

Koban. Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koban_%28Japanese_gold_coin%29



  • 猫に neko ni (give) to a cat [に shows direction]
  • A 小判 koban was an oval-shaped gold coin used during the Edo period.
  • 豚に真珠 buta ni shinju Pearls to a pig. This proverb from the Bible is also often heard in Japanese and means basically the same thing as 猫に小判.



 houseki ni kyoumi no nai hito ni daiyamondo wo agetemo, neko ni koban da.
For someone who has no interest in precious stones, even giving that person a diamond would be casting pearls before swine.

 [audio http://thejapanesepage.com/audio_files/kotowaza/1neko-f.mp3 ]

  • 宝石 houseki—precious stones; gems
  • 興味のない人 kyoumi no nai hito—a person not interested in…
  • に ni—indicates the 興味のない人 is the receiver of ダイヤモンド
  • ダイヤモンド daiyamondo—diamond
  • 上げても agete mo—even if you give (him a diamond)

This lesson is found in our Kotowaza, Japanese Proverbs and Sayings book. It is available in ebook and paperback formats. To learn more, go here on Amazon and here at TJS.com.


Adding Sound Files and Music to your iPhone

If you just got an iPhone and were wondering just how to add music to it from your computer, here’s how.

You would think you could simply drag and drop MP3s onto your iPhone. But why make it easy for us? iTunes is confusing, but once you figure it out, it is handy for keeping things organized.

I use folders and playlists within the folders to organize things. Folders just hold playlists and playlists hold tracks.



I have a folder called “Crooners” and in it, I have several playlists that I have grouped by the artist. Under it, I have another folder for my Japanese music.

To do this, first make a folder.

1)      With the newest version of iTunes (, you click on the top left.


2)      New > New Playlist Folder.


3)      Name the folder “Japanese Lessons” or “Kotoba” or whatever

4)      Next, make a playlist and name it whatever you want.


Next, plug in your iPhone, add that playlist, and sync.

1)      Click on the iPhone button to the top right.


2)      Click on “Music” at the top


3)      Select “Sync Music” and “Selected Playlists, artists, albums, and genres”


4)      Then choose the playlists you want.


Sync and you should see it on your iPhone.

Japanese Dialogues Apps FREE for iPhone and iPad TODAY

TODAY ONLY (well, through November 27) our two Japanese Dialogues apps are absolutely FREE! If you like them, PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW!

Paul Stevenson from the Australian software development company Dependency and I produced these two great apps a few months ago. We have plans to upgrade them for iPhone 5 screen sizes, quizzes for vocabulary, and other goodies, but sales have been dismal. We’ve heard praises from individuals, but so far, we’ve had zero reviews on iTunes. Would you be willing to help us out by reviewing the apps after using them for a while?

To sweeten the deal, you’ll not only get these two apps absolutely free, but if you email me the text of your review (and the country for your iTunes store), I’ll email you a link to our latest Japanese Reader: うさぎと亀 The Tortoise and the Hare also FREE. This download works with PCs and Macs; includes Kindle & Nook ebooks, PDFs for printing, and MP3s of the story in Japanese read slowly and normal speed. Just email me here.


Our 4th and 100th Youtube Video

I joined Youtube on December 7th, 2006. I remember it well. A friend of mine confessed that she was spending way too much time watching videos on Youtube.

“Youtube,” I said, “what’s that?”

I immediately signed up and began buying a lot of animations, backgrounds, and royalty free music from Digital Juice. It was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t earning any money for my family so I stopped making videos for a while. It still isn’t bringing in any money to speak about, but people seem to enjoy the educational videos and I can make video reviews of products we stock. [for example here (which is on sale today) and here (which is a great, cheap book)]

I’m back trying to make 1-2 videos a week. I’ll never make enough to cover what I spent on Digital Juice media (A great company, by the way), but I’ll have a lot of fun trying.

Here is the most popular of our videos: Introduction to Japanese

It has 1,292,536 views and 5,729 likes and 155 dislikes

I’m glad the likes outnumber the dislikes!

That was the fourth video. Here is the hundredth:

Three new Reviews for our iPhone apps

We tend to get about five reviews a week for our iPhone apps. Today we had three and all were five stars!

Two were for our flagship Learn Japanese with Phrases and Lessons iPhone and iPad app:

From Russia:

JPhrases Very helpful – from the basics to the most needful phrases for almost any need. It is pretty much a complete educational product by itself, but you do need to have a textbook to keep the pressure upon yourself.

And here was one from Canada:

One of the best Japanese apps for your buck – It provides everything you need to know to speak Japanese just as well as they do and for so little. Forget overpriced lessons that leave stuff out like Rosetta Stone. This is one of the only language software packs you’ll need. And continued updates means no more filling your shelf with books you’ll rarely read.

If you are interested in learning Japanese and have an iPhone or iPad, please check our app out here: Click to open in iTunes (we also have a free version you can try our with 600 sound files!)

And for our Hiragana and Katakana app:

From the USA

Great app – I don’t normally write reviews but this app is quite exceptional. If you are interested in learning Hiragana or Katakana, this is defiantly the way to do it. Between quizzes and flash cards, this app will help you memorize quickly and effectively.

Checkout this app here.
Many of our apps will be updated within the next few weeks.