Under the room light is dark. Learn Japanese Saying!

I bet this happens to everybody??
You’re looking for something somewhere …. and you found it before your eyes.

I was looking for red leaves, I needed it for hand craft activity for Z.

I went to 3 different parks, couldn’t find it.
I gave up… and walked back home… then boom! There it was, a beautiful red leaves tree next to my apartment. (Technically inside of our court yard.)

In Japanese we say it ” Todai Moto Kurashi” : 灯台もと暗し: Under the room light is dark. 

Next time when I look for something, I should start looking from my feet maybe.

A lot of Japanese people make a mistake on this saying….

omg… I just found out that I was WRONG about its meaning.
How embarrassing..!! Let me explain.

Todai – until today, since I was born, I thought it meant “lighthouse” in this saying.

But then, Google Sensei just told me that Todai refers to an old room lamp that was used in Edo Period in Japan.


It’s the same pronunciation and same Kanji!!! so how the hell would I know this!??!!!
But Now I do. You do, too.

(I had to re-draw today’s cartoon damn it! )

AH, don’t you love ScandiAsia – this cartoon makes you smart! :p

Does your country have the same meaning of saying?
What does it say?


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  1. Jacob Hartmann says:

    Thank you for that idiom! Very practical. The danish and english equivalent is “can’t see the forest for the trees” (it’s the same in danish). The use of “for” in the english expression seems a bit odd, but it’s and older use of “for” meaning “because of”.

    I like how your story is actually tree-related. Makes the danish and english expression very appropriate.