Tonbi-ni Aburaage-wo Sarawareru

(= have one’s share filched [taken] by another)


(Black Kite* from Wikipedia) 

 Tonbi (= Black Kite: are such wild birds that they usually don’t come near humans. However, they attack humans and take food away from humans’ hands once they get used to humans. When you hold aburaage (= Fried Bean Curd/Fried Tofu) in your hand, chances are you may be attacked by Tonbi and have your aburaage (delicacy in those days) taken away! 


(Japanese Aburaage)

 I have no idea if there was an occasion where a black kite flew to someone to take away the fried tofu he was holding in his hands in the past, but this expression is used very frequently in Japan. For example, “There may be times when you do most of the work and yet someone else gets the credit” (from “A Better Way to Live” by Og Mandino; page at 76). Sounds familiar? Yeah, you are right. Life is not fair, is it?

 Watch out for your friends, relatives, and neighbors;

they might be “Tonbi!”


(Warning Sign of Attacks by Black Kites)

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*Black Kite: “Black Kite 2364818940” by Chris Eason – originally posted to Flickr as Wahlberg’s Eagle <– wrong identification. Licensed under CC 表示 2.0 via ウィキメディア・コモンズ –