Of Untranslatable & Meaningful Words

Untranslatable meanings. Complex feelings that are impossible to express with words.

The art of Kanji… These words just make perfect sense.

Mono no Aware 物の哀れ

The gentle wistfulness at the transience of things, and the awareness of the sadness of existence.

Yugen 幽玄

An awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious to be described. The charm of things in the dim light that you can not fully understand.

Tsundoku 積ん読

Buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up on shelves or floors or nightstands.

Wabi-Sabi 侘寂

A way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.

Yoko meshi 横飯

Literally, “horizontal rice” or “a meal eaten sideways.” This is how the Japanese define the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language: yoko is a reference to the fact that Japanese is normally written vertically, whereas most foreign languages are written horizontally.

Komorebi 木漏れ日

The sort of scattered, dappled light effect that happens when sunlight shines in through tree leaves.

Satsukibare 五月晴れ

Literally “bright day of May“, the term originally indicated a sunny day in the rainy season.
Now it is used as a reference to a day with a particularly bright sky in early May.

Koi No Yokan 

The sense one can have upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love. Differs from “love at first sight” as it does not imply that the feeling of love exists, only the knowledge that a future love is inevitable.

Kawaakari 川明かり

The gleam of last light on a river´s surface at dusk; the glow of a river in the darkness.

Fuubutsushi 風物詩

The things, feelings, scents, images… that evoke memories of anticipation of a particular season. Three kanji, wind, things and poetry, to describe a sort of nostalgia you feel in the air that you can hardly express if not in Japanese.

Kintsukuroi 金繕い

It literally means “repair with gold” and is a practice part of the aesthetic concept of wabi sabi in which the damaged object is not thrown away but on the contrary is treated and embellished pouring into the cracks liquid resin with gold dust.
The beauty lies not in perfection but in the history of life-changing and in the imperfection that follows.
The objects, especially ancient ceramic tableware, acquire a temporal dimension, each one telling a different and unique story in the golden design of cracks, and thus become a symbol of beauty.

Ikigai 生き甲斐

Ikigai is a Japanese word meaning “reason for being.” On the island of Okinawa, it is thought of as “a reason to get up in the morning,” a philosophy which has been linked to the longevity of the people there.

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** Sources:


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