Japan is a place of great mysticism. It’s rich with culture and tradition. It’s land of honor and respect a nation that is given us ninja, samurai, manga, anime and new technology.
Just like Japanese culture their language is rich too. I love rhythm of Japanese language.
I Love the way it sound and the way a little word carry more weight to them and most of all i love how we have a bunch of perfect words to describe things and I often found that Japanese language describe those-in-between moments. The moment that are so hard to describe and these word capture your feeling perfectly.
Japanese have so many beautiful and cool words to describe beauty we don’t have in english. one word in a Japanese language and see that it takes five or six words to describe it in English.
So let’s dive into some amazing Japanese word and see just why Japanese is a beautiful language.
1. Wabi-Sabi (WAH-bi SAH-bi)
Meaning – discover beauty in the imperfections of the nature and life : accepting the cycle of life and death.
“Wabi sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect” – Richard Powell
The wabi-sabi is a large, long, wide concept. By understanding this, you can understand the entire culture of Japan, the art and spiritual trade there.
It’s a Japanese aesthetic which is describe the concept that beauty lies in the imperfections of nature.
It teach us that instead of being perfect in everything, we should learn to accepting our imperfections and focusing on the blessings we have in our daily life.
Whenever you visit japan, you can observe that Japanese craftsman will intentionally add a small flaw after finishing his perfect work in the honour of this concept.
In the short form we can say that wabi-sabi teach us how to appreciate and love the perfectly imperfect life.
2. Komorebi (kom-orebi)
Meaning – sunlight filtered through Tree leaves
Imagine that you are walking in a dense forest or in a garden, and in the middle, the sun is falling on you by filtering from the leaves of trees.
For this feeling we don’t have a word in English but in Japanese we have komorebi.
If you are a person who love and feel nature. this word is blessing to express your feeling perfectly.
Meaning – According to the Japanese, every person has an ikigai. The word Ikigai in Japanese means ‘reason to get up in the morning’ or ‘a reason for being’. It is also called the purpose of life or the reason for enjoying life.
Did you know that the people in Okinawa (Japan) have the World’s longest expectancy and one of this secret is ‘ikigai’.
According to Okinawa culture there is four elements That help to find your ikigai…
1. What you love to do
2. Which you are proficient in doing,
3. That the world needs and,
4. With which you can make money.
So you just have to find your ikigai and make your life truly worthwhile. So what’s your ikigai?
10 Happy Japanese Words That Bring You Happiness And Joy
10 Happy Japanese Words That Bring You Happiness And Joy
4. Natsukashii ( Naht-suk-hashii)
Meaning – Some small things that brings back happy and joyful memories of the past.
You feel natsukashii when you remember your happy childhood memories, street you grew up on and the kids you played with. Most often natsukashii are the good times that our wonderful brain remembers, or the things that bring you comfort, like the nostalgic memories you feel when you listen to the songs you loved when you were little
Natsukashii means to miss the past time, the good old days.
i. e. Imagine suddenly you see some old picture of your childhood Or college days Or your first trip something like that and this things brings back your happy memories. You say “Aww, man that brings back so many memories. What a good days those were.” And instead of saying these long sentence you can just say ‘oh natsukashii’ in Japanese.
Isn’t that really simple and easy… ?
Meaning – Forest bathing , A visit to forest for relaxation and health benefits
Japanese people practice shinrinyoku as a therapy since a long time and this is scientifically proven that walking in the forest has many health benefits such as lowering stress hormones and blood pressure etc.
In this process you take a long walk in a forest without your smartphone or any electronic gadgets and leave behind all your worries and expectations of life. In this moment you feel so relax, happy, free from all worries as it’s feel like all of the natural green light shower over you. this feeling called shinrinyoku. Howfascinating.
Meaning : Buying books and letting them pile up without reading them
So this one for the book lovers. Tsundoku is perfect word for anyone who Just loves buying books but doesn’t have time to read them.
I also a book lover so I tell you my story to give you a idea about tsundoku.
So one day i went to a book fair and some of the book there they looked so interesting that I couldn’t resist and I bought abouth the 12 books and then I brought them home piled them up. But then I realized that I have already other books piled in my house and I thought why did I buy all these book in the first place?
So this is called tsundoku. Actually tsundoku is a habit to collect book but not really read them.
It’s not amazing that we have a word for this. So are you a Tsundoku?
7. Furusato ( foo-roo-sah-toh )
Meaning : home town, birthplace, old historic village, native place or a random place your heart longs for.
This word use for when somebody miss the old good days of their hometown, when they are child. Sometimes you miss the place where you went to school or travel you miss the memories of the place and this feeling called furusato. But it’s not always about the place you’re from but it can be a random place your heart longs for.
I recommend to listen a song ‘Furusato’. It’s a Japanese beloved folk song about missing home.
Meaning : pretending to be out or not at home when someone knocks at your door.
Irusu is someone rings your bell and you’re still in your bed and praying the unwanted guest leaves and pretending like nobody’s at home.
Actually we all do that when we want to be alone or shy to meet new people, right?
In modern day You definitely relate this when you say Sorry, I just got this” hours after you actually saw a text.
9. koi no yokan
Meaning – the sensation upon first meeting someone that you’ll eventually fall in love with them.
You might not believe in ‘love at first sight’, but perhaps, then, you believe in ‘koi no yokan’.this Japanese phrase stand for the sense you have upon first meeting someone you’ll fall in love with.⠀⠀
I found this beautiful Japanese phrase in book The Sun is Also a Star (young adult romance novel) by Nicola Yoon. She wrote ,“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.”
Meaning – A word that sounds sweet and pleasant to the ear
This word issimilar to Kobashi (sweet, fragrant) and Kawaii (cute).
This is often used when someone says a word that’s sound beautiful, but sometimes couples use it when they compliments each other.
11. Mamori tai
Meaning : I will always protect You
Telling someone ‘mamori tai’ has a very big romantic meaning in Japanese culture.
it is used to express love and seal an eternal bond.
Meaning : the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking.
Boketto is just staring, without thinking. Total absence of thought. You might think that we already have a english word for this and that said word is called daydreaming. But i think boketto is not same as daydreaming.
Because daydreaming means when you lost in your imagination or fantasies about something. It means your mind is not absence of thought but boketto is when your mind is totally empty.
Susan Rich mention this word in her poem called Boketto. Here is some line of this poem…
There is a word I overheard today, meaning lost
not on a career path or across a floating bridge:
Boketto—to stare out windows without purpose.
Don’t laugh; it’s been too long since we leaned into the morning: bird friendly coffee and blueberry toast.
13. Ageotori (aah-gey-ohto-ri)
Meaning – to look worse after a haircut
you ever tried a new haircut that turned out to be a really bad idea and now you wanted to bury the whole thing under a hat? Well, Japanese have a word for this too and it’s “Age-otori” means looking worse after a haircut. I hope that our next haircut doesn’t make us use it, haha.
Meaning – take a break from your everyday routine
Datsuzoku word describe that we all need a break from our everyday daily routine every now and then. It means to step out of your comfort zone to discover, learn and try new things in your life.
15. Shouganai Or Shikataganai
Meaning – it cannot be helped Or nothing can be done
Shouganai is kind of similar to hakunah Matata.
Let’s say you miss your plane and instead of saying ‘ughh now I have to wait three more hours in this airport’ instead Japanese people choose to say ‘shouganai’ it can’t helped and you can’t change fate.
Meaning of shouganai is not giving up but letting it go. It came from Buddhist/zen as an idea to free your heart even in bad situation and to accept fate or life.
This is One of my favorite phrase i kind of wish the English language would steal that term so i can use it in public.
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