Episode 11 – Untranslatable


Cazes and Dave get a little verbose in this deep, deep dive into those interesting, hard-to-translate words that give Japanese some of its fascination. What’s your ikigai ? Is that toilet mottainai enough for you? Does watching transformers movies make you feel natuskashii ? Or do you wish you could practice irusu when a mendokusai guy from the TV company comes to your house? There’s only one place to find answers to these questions. The kyodai are feeling nori-nori in this episode. Itadakimasu !

Some very loose translations.

Natsukashii – 懐かしい – a positive feeling of nostalgia.

Mendokusai – 面倒くさい – awkward or nuisances to deal with situations.

Ikigai – 生き甲斐 – One’s raison d’etre, combining 4 elements – what you’re good at; something you can be paid for / you can make a living from; something the world needs; something which you love or really care about.

Bureikou – 無礼講 – Usually employed at company parties to mean something like “let’s not stand on ceremony”, bureikou, as a concept is intended to free people from certain limitations of social status to just relax and be themselves.

Mottainai – もったいない – a feeling of regret at wasting something of value.

Wabi-sabi – 侘び寂び – Aesthetic sense in Japanese art centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

Irusu – 居留守 – The practice of one’s pretending not to be home.

Omotenashi – お持て成し is an untranslatable Japanese word that represents careful thoughtfulness. It is the type of hospitality that puts the customer or guest first without the expectation of anything in return.

Intro / outro music by the wonderful Bear / Rabbit Duo from Hakodate, Hokkaido:

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