Apr 9

【RocketNews24】Eight Japanese words we’d love to import into English

Posted by Michelle Lynn Dinh (Shimane-ken, Chibu-mura, 2010–13), editor and writer for RocketNews24The following article was written by Casey Baseel, a writer and translator for RocketNews24, a Japan-based site dedicated to bringing fun and quirky news from Asia to English speaking audiences.Eight Japanese words we’d love to import into English

Recently, we talked about how Japanese, while a tough language to learn, isn’t quite as difficult as some horror stories make it out to be. Still, if English is your native language, certain Japanese grammar rules, like saying “wa” and “o” to mark the subject and object of your sentences, can seem like a major hassle.

With practice, though, these things start to become automatic. Even better, the Japanese language is filled with incredibly handy phrases that we’d love to import into English.

1. Doumo – Hello, thanks, and hello and thanks

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The extremely convenient domo manages to do the job of both “hello” and “thank you,” as it’s the first component of both doumo konnichiwa (good afternoon) anddomo arigato gozaimasu (thank you very much).

Aside from being shorter than the two phrases it can replace (which are both a bit of a mouthful even by Japanese standards), doumo can also be used to combine the two sentiments. Did someone invite you to their house? A warm “Domo!” with a smile as they open the front door works as both a friendly greeting and a heartfelt thanks for opening their home to you.

2. Ozappa – Working in broad strokes

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Ozappa is often used to describe a type of personality, and while it directly translates to “rough” or “broad,” it doesn’t mean the person in question is abrasive, nor does it indicate someone who’s broad-minded in the sense of being open to new ideas. Rather, someone who’s ozappa doesn’t really sweat the details, whether for better or worse. Your friend who planned the barbeque, said he’d buy the beer and stick it in the cooler, but didn’t think to buy ice? He’s ozappa, but so is your other pal who doesn’t get worked up when you hand him a lukewarm brew.

3. Bimyou – Subtly…not right

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Although it literally means “subtle,” bimyou usually implies that something is a little off, and that maybe it’d be better to just do without it altogether. The dash of red wine that pork cutlet sauce really doesn’t need, the clunky metaphors in the love letter your wrote to your junior high crush, and the tasteful nose piercing you picked out for your job interview could all be described as bimyou.

Click here to read the rest of the list.

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