A New Idiom

I walked past a construction site the other day where there were four security guards on duty. It was just a small apartment building, and there didn’t seem to be any actual constructing going on, so it seemed like a bit of overkill.

Where are the fast men when you need them?
Where are the fast men when you need them?

That brought to mind the way you so often see a guy working in a manhole and six other guys standing around scratching themselves and giving advice. That happens here just as much as anywhere else.

There’s even an idiom for it. “Shokunin hitori ni tako hachinin,” which means “For one worker, eight octopi,” with the idea being that although an octopus’s movements in water are svelte and elegant, an octopus on land flops around very slowly, looking stupid. Love the image.

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