Japanese words that you didn’t know you needed!

Many people are trying to learn the Japanese language in an attempt to watch Japanese anime without subtitles. The Japanese film industry is run half by anime and half by porn, but these are not the only places  where Japanese words are used. In fact, most people have not yet been exposed to the way in which Japanese are experts in containing highly emotive and pleasant feelings into single terms.

Here are 7 Japanese words that you didn’t know you needed!



The ritual of saying ‘Ojama-shimasu’ when you enter someone’s house shows how modest you are. You are letting the people in the house know that you know you are going to be a bother, and that you apologize in advance for intruding into their space.

2. Mottainai

This life is ‘Mottanai’! A owrd from the Buddhist origins that has traveled its way into the Japanese vocabulary meaning ‘What a waste’ and expressing regret over the waste. This word is used not only to describe the waste of physical resources, but also that of time and opportunities missed!


The term translates to ‘it can’t be helped’ and expresses the thought that there is no use in complaining about things that are out of one’s control. The mentality seems to be the reason why Japanese people are able to remain calm in situations of earthquakes and tsunamis, and perhaps also why they talk about the government but never show up to vote.

4. Bakkushan

The combination of the English word ‘back’ and the German word ‘schoen’ (beautiful) makes the Japanese word Bakkushan. It refers to a woman who looks beautiful from the behind but is unattractive when she turns around. Although we do not like the thought behind the word that characterizes a woman on the basis of her appearance, it is still a pretty cool wordplay used by Japanese.


The term refers to someone who goes bankrupt, or simply saying broke, by spending all their money on food and drinks. The term also refers to a person who doesn’t work and play around. It is also a hint towards how dearly people in Japan love good food, to the point that they might go bankrupt for spending too much on food.

6. Natsukashii

The term is an adjective used when something evokes the feelings of nostalgia or reminiscence of the past. It is the feeling one gets when one remembers happy moments from the past, such as looking through pictures from one’s childhood.

7.Mono no aware

This word is a combination of ‘mono’, or ‘thing’, with aware, which means sensitivity or sadness, that is accompanied by the knowledge of fleeting nature of life.  Accepting this impermanence can lead to a sense of joy in the present moment, however insubstantial it may be, and help to enjoy life to the fullest in the present moment.



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