Recently I made an inadvertent mistake, which reminded me a familiar Japanese proverb to admonish us to stay away from situation and the likelihood to be suspected as a rule-offender. It is a set of words, 李下に冠を正さず - Don’t touch your coronet under the plum tree, and瓜田に靴を入れずDon’t wear shoes in cucurbit field, lest you should be suspected as a cucurbit or plum fruit thief.
I understand the proverb came from the passage, 君子防未然。不処嫌疑間。瓜田不納履、李下不正冠 that can be translated as “Gentlemen prevent problems in advance. Don’t wear shoes in cucurbit field. Don’t touch your coronet under the plum tree,” in君子行 (Gentleman’s Conduct) in Chinese classic literature,古楽府.
We also have a proverb, 転ばぬ先の杖 – Walk with a stick before you stumble (on stone) referring to preparedness, but it’s different from李下に冠を正さず in meaning.
Are there similar English proverbs or maxims as李下に冠を正さずthat admonish us to keep away from the habit, or taking action to get involved in the unexpected problem or disaster as a result? I would like to tell it to myself.