CultureEssayEtymologyHistoryIdiomJapanese traditionProverbUncorrected

Bo ni Furu

  • In the yesterday post, I introduced a phrase “mizu no awa,” which means that efforts end in vain.


    Today, I’d like to talk about the phrase “bo ni furu,” which has the same meaning of “mizu no awa.”

    The literal meaning of “bo ni furu” is “to swing a pole,” and it implies that a merchant walks around to sell goods while shouldering a carrying pole with baskets hung at both ends.

    Also, such an act or a merchant was referred to as “boteburi” or “furiuri”.

    In Japan during the Edo period, boteburi have to sell fish and vegetables until the baskets would empty.

    Furthermore, even if all goods were sold, the profits were small.

    From this fact, “bo ni furu” comes to mean “efforts end in vain.”

    Original sentence