Beautiful, Untranslatable Japanese Words

These beautiful, untranslatable Japanese words manage to capture the unspeakable subtleties of our soul with one simple word.

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An awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious to be described.

Yoko meshi 

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.


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


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


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

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.

As for how I feel right now? Luftmensch, Yiddish, meaning ‘One who lives on air.’ Yup, I ain’t got no money.

Discover more beautiful, untranslatable Japanese words here, and beautiful Japanese sayings here.



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