和訳は英文の下にございます。/ The Japanese translation is below the English text.


Table of contents

1. Pecans for wild birds
2. Opened window
3. Yellow-Rumped Warbler
4. Caution
5. A person of caution

1. Pecans for wild birds

This spring, I offered pecans to wild birds in our backyard. Before long, Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse and Yellow-Rumped Warbler found it likeable and visited the dish frequently.

An image of a Carolina wren
[Click to enlarge / 画像をクリックすると拡大します] A Carolina wren is a frequent visitor / チャバラマユミソサザイはよく来ます

I put the dish on the HVAC unit outside my window, so I could observe and see the different eating habit of each bird.

The wren liked larger chopped pecans and usually swallowed a piece on the spot.

The titmouse preferred even larger pieces. They triumphantly brought a big piece to a branch of the orange tree standing nearby, and held it between their legs while breaking it into the desired size.

The warbler stayed on the dish and picked tiny pieces one at a time, chopped to the size of coarse salt. It came to the dish many times a day.

2. Opened Window

When my window was closed, the birds didn’t notice that I was watching. They ate and stayed freely, and didn’t pay attention to my direction.

One day, I opened the window half-way to see them better.

They could now easily see into my room all the way.

They stopped coming.

Actually, they came down to the HVAC machine, but flew away when they noticed I was there.

However, they didn’t repeat this too many times before they found a way. First, the titmouse began to quickly pick a big piece and flew off to the orange tree.

A titmouse quickly came and picked it up / エボシガラがさっと取っていきました

Then, the wren also quickly grabbed a piece and hopped off the HVAC machine. (It likes to hop down.)

These didn’t happen with the poor warbler.

3. Yellow-Rumped Warbler

The warbler froze when it saw me in the back of the room.

It kept watching this way, beyond the pecans, and swayed for a long time between caution and interest in the nuts. Finally, prudence overcame and it flew away.

Still the pecans were attractive, it came to the HVAC machine again. The human was still around, so it hesitated and wondered:

“Maybe it’s OK. Shall I take a chance? Shall I try?”

At times it nudged toward us a couple of centimeters (one inch or so), but it couldn’t make up its mind and ended up flying away.

The wrens and titmice had gratified me by returning without much reservation. I wanted the warbler to feel better about me, too. I kept the window open but it hesitated every time.

Yellow-rumped warblers use a lot of caution
Yellow-rumped warblers are extremely cautious / キヅタアメリカムシクイはとても用心深い

Finally, I reluctantly admitted to myself that I was the cause of its stress, and closed the window. After that, it came to the nuts as freely as the other birds.

On a day in April, none of the Yellow-Rumped Warblers showed up. The are migratory and they leave for the North at the end of spring.

4. Caution

I don’t think the warblers are cowards just because they don’t act as boldly as wrens and titmice. They are only cautious and prudent.

Caution and prudence are also important in pursuing martial arts.

One may think martial arts let people be more proficient in the use of weapons and/or more skillful in damaging or killing an opponent, but they are not everything.

Some experts in traditional Japanese martial arts consider the ultimate secret of martial arts is rather an ability to create a situation in which they don’t have to engage.

5. A cautious person

By the end of Edo Era, traditional Japanese martial arts became obsolete as interest in the modern arms of the West increased. However, when Satsuma Rebellion (1877) broke out, traditional swordsmen on both sides showed formidable lethal potency. After that, the Great Japanese Imperial Navy and Army encouraged their members to learn traditional martial arts.

There is an episode of those days about a navy officer called Togo Heihachiro.

One day, Togo saw a packhorse in the direction he was walking. He crossed the street and passed it on the other side.

When his colleague reproached him for avoiding a packhorse like a coward, he answered, “If the horse had become unruly and hurt me, I wouldn’t have been able to perform my duties. It is also my job to avoid that kind of a situation.”

Years later, when the Minister of the Navy recommended Togo to the Emperor as the first commander of the combined fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the minister commented, “Togo is a man with strong luck.”

Togo did have good luck and destroyed the Russian Baltic Fleet in the Battle of Tsushima (1905).

Some say his watchful prudence such as he showed with the packhorse must have contributed to it and this episode is well remembered.

[End of the English text]



1. 野鳥にぺカンナッツ  
2. 窓を開けると  
3. キヅタアメリカムシクイの場合  
4. 用心深さ
5. 用心深い人





























江戸末期に、西洋の近代的な軍事力への興味が高まり、日本の武道は廃れました。しかし、明治時代になって西南戦争 (1877) が起こった時、伝統武芸を身に着けた兵員の殺傷能力が非常に高いことが示されて、見直され、帝国海軍では伝統的な武道が奨励されたといいます。


同輩が「武人が馬をおそれて (臆病者のように) 道を避けるとは」となじると、東郷は平然として「万一馬が暴れて怪我でもして、本務に障りが出れば、それこそ武人の本務にもとります」と答えました。


東郷は確かに運がよくて、日露戦争でバルチック艦隊を破りました (1905年)。東郷の強運には、荷馬を見てちょっと癇が高ぶってるなと思ったら素早く道を変えるような用心深さも大いに与していたのだという人もおり、この話はよく知られています。


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One Reply to “Caution! 用心第一”

  • Greetings!

    I would like to thank everyone who liked this article, who encouraged me, and who advised me on this blog.
    I am reading each one of your messages. I can’t reply to you all, but I really appreciate it.
    If you would like a direct response from me, kindly try using [email protected].

    Best wishes, Yuko

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