Four More Words from Japanese That English Really Needs

English borrows from a large number of languages. Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic, to name a few. However, some amazing Japanese words are missing.

Yugen is both a word and a concept. Yugen denotes a transcendent wonder and awareness of the Universe. Often applied to art, its meaning is dependent on context.

Filled with a spiritual feeling too deep for words? Perhaps you are experiencing yugen.


Wabi-sabi is about enjoying ageing and the imperfections of life. Scars happen. Wear and tear are reflections of being well loved.

Making its way into English via shabby chic, wabi-sabi perfectly describes a great flea market find.


While experiencing yugen or adding wabi-sabi to your home decor, you may find yourself in a state of boketto.

That's when you stop what you are doing and stare off into the middle distance. You've lost your ability to concentrate. Don't worry, boketto happens to the best of us.


Are you less geek and more otaku?

Otaku is someone so involved in their interest that they can be said to have withdrawn from "normal" society. Choosing instead the anime and manga subculture.

The connotation is most often negative, though the term does seem to be undergoing the same revolution as the word "geek."

Given the Japanese manga and anime influence in America, otaku needs a place in our lexicon.


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Steve Linney

Steve has been a marketer for the last twenty years, covering a diverse number of sectors. Including club promotion, corporate responsibility and e-learning.


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