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Our 4 favourite Japanese words that have no English equivalent

Over the last few years, much of Japanese pop culture has been adopted by the western world. Japanese cartoons, food, and video games have become the cornerstone of a cultural movement that has swept this nation, and many others. Now there’s even a new holiday devoted to entirely to sushi! (We’re not complaining.) And with this trend comes a natural increase in people who feel compelled to learn more about the Japanese language.

As a language isolate, Japanese is uniquely interesting. According to The Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Japanese is the only major language whose genetic affiliation is not known.” Some theories suggest that Japanese could be related to Korean, or otherwise to the South Asian language groups, however nothing has yet been proven.

Indeed, Japanese is so starkly different from English that it has gained a reputation for being one of the hardest languages in the world to learn.

But despite this (or possibly even because of this), we here at London Translations feel that there are some words in the Japanese language that deserve a little special attention. So here are our favourite Japanese words that have no English equivalent:

TSUNDOKU

When you buy a book but don’t read it, instead leaving it with other similarly discarded books.

NITO-ONNA

A woman who is so dedicated to her career, that she doesn’t have time to iron her clothes, and therefore just wears knitted tops.

KOI NO YOKAN

The feeling that, when you meet someone new, you might in time fall in love.

KUIDAORE

Here we’ve saved the best for last. Kuidaore means “To eat yourself into bankruptcy.”

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