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Learn Japanese with me! p.2

Learn about the philosophical concepts that exist only in Japanese culture!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

As you know, I’m learning Japanese – and here goes the list of my favorite idioms and untranslatable words related to philosophical concepts and funny phrases that exist only in Japanese. Check the first blog too where I talk about my favourite words, scenery describing phrases and cat idioms. Many thanks to Valeria, my Japanese language teacher from Yoroshiku School, for her kind assistance with the material 🙂

 Read on! 

Philosophical concepts

Wabi Sabi 侘寂

Wabi Sabi is possibly the most overwhelmingly Japanese concept that roots in accepting that life is not perfect, and it’s even more precious because of the impermanence and transience of everything.

Kintsuki/kintsukuroi 金継ぎ/金繕い which describes a process golden repair

It is a method for repairing broken pottery with liquid gold and after that the piece becomes more precious than a brand new one as it has its unique history. The same philosophy applies to a human being – after a breakage the repaired item is more valuable. 

Ichigoichie 一期一会 meaning ‘one moment one meeting’

Every single moment in our lives never repeats itself and if you try to replicate it it would never be really the same. If you cherish those moments you know what Ichigoichie is. 

Mono no aware 物の哀れ aka sadness about things

Another philosophical concept describing the sadness that however beautiful is a thing it’ll fade just like the most beautiful cherry blossom won’t stay beautiful forever. People learn to appreciate things more knowing that they are not permanent.

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Yuugen 幽玄

describes an indescribable emotion triggered by the incomprehensible mystery of nature, or, even broader, the whole universe.

Shoganai しょうがない or  Shikata ga nai 仕方がない

Shoganai is another concept describing the situation when something goes wrong however you cannot control and you can’t influence it in any way so you have just to accept it and go on.

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Funny phrases

Betsubara 別腹 separate stomach

Betsubara is when you still have space for a dessert even though you’re full after a meal. 

Kuchisabishii 口寂しい mouth lonely

Your mouth is lonely when you eat not because you’re hungry but because you’re bored 

Hope you enjoyed my today’s blog!



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