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Thread: Meaningful Japanese Words about Life

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    Junior Member kitanookami's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Meaningful Japanese Words about Life

    The Japanese language is, of course, both difficult and exciting at the same time. And as we learn Japanese, we will find out that there are many meaningful Japanese words which English does not have. The more we think about them, the more interesting they become, until the point, we will see that they are really meaningful in our life. So here are the 5 cool and meaningful Japanese words we should learn.

    1 – Itadakimasu

    This is a pretty well-known Japanese word, even for people who haven’t learned Japanese before. In a simple way, we can understand “Itadakimasu” as “Thanks for the meal” or “Let’s eat”. However, if we dig in deeper, we can say “Itadakimasu” is somewhat relate to Buddism. The action of clasping 2 hands together with the slight head bow can be seen as an act of prayer. In Buddism, all lives are considered to be precious, when you do “Itadakimasu”, you have to finish all your meal as a way to express gratitude since the “food” gave it life to you.

    2 – Shinrin-Yoku

    In English, “Shinrin-yoku” can be translated to “Forest-bathing” (pretty fancy translation). To explain this simply, it is go into the forest, walk slowly and breathe, submerge ourselves into nature. As it is proved, “Shinrin-yoku” is an excellent healing way, it can help a lot in improving human’s health. In term of the spiritual idea, it is like becoming one with nature, relax and put all worries behind for better present, and future.

    3 – Ikigai

    In Kanji alphabet, “Ikigai” means “reason for being”, or we can say “reason for living”. The more we think about it, the more meaningful things we can see around this word. If we divide this word, we will have “iki” which refers to “life” and “kai” which basically means “realizing what we expect or hope for”. We can also translate “Ikagai” as “the thing that makes you wake up every day”, so let ask ourselves: “What give us the motivation to get up in the morning?”.

    4 – Yugen

    Brace yourself because we are going deep into the meaning of one part of Buddism in general and Japanese culture in particular – Yugen. “Yugen” are explained to be awareness of the Universe which triggers the emotion and feeling about the world. Sounds complicated isn’ it? To make it easier to understand, first, we will have to understand one concept from Buddism which is “nothingness”. “Nothingness” does not mean “non-existence”, but rather means “everything will constantly changing, some will evolve, some will dissolve, that is the way of the world”. In Japanese concept of aesthetic, this means appreciating the constant changes of the world, instead of clinging into the clinging into the forever existence of things, such as the sunset scenery, or gazing at the boat which is gradually disappearing. If we apply this meaning to daily life, we will see that everything around us will constantly change, for this reason, we should focus on our present, instead of clinging into the glory or the sorrow of the past, as everything will disappear, and only present remains.

    5 – Hikikomori

    “Hikikomori” is actually not a popular Japanese word around the world until recent years. However, in truth, it refers to a real-life situation or people who lock themselves in their own room, separating themselves from society. This situation is seen as an extreme state of isolation, the bad part is that it happens more and more nowadays. This might not be the worst in other countries, but in Japan, seems the percentage of “hikikomori” increases so much that Japanese Ministry of Health has to give out a definition and 6 different criteria for “hikikomori”. The interesting Japanese word, but quite disturbing.
    Last edited by kitanookami; 09-19-2016 at 09:50 AM.
    Once a boy loved a young girl. He tried to learn how do you say I love you in Japanese to impress her, but he didn't even know about Kanji symbols. So he learn Japanese online.

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