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Recently we brought you a selection of Japanese words we’d love to import into English. Well, it seems we’re not the only ones that feel that way. Digital artist Anjana Iyer, a designer based in Auckland, New Zealand, is undertaking a project to illustrate 100 words that can’t be translated into English. The words she’s chosen come from languages ranging from Latvian to Inuit, and even better, we here at RocketNews24 were excited to discover that there are already seven Japanese words on the list!

Below is our pick of Anjana’s ongoing project, which is entitled “Found in Translation”.

Let’s start with some of the best words from the Japanese language!

Komorebi (Japanese)

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▲ Try pasting こもれび (komorebi) into Google images, if you want to get lost in lovely greenery without having to look away from your computer screen.

Bakku-shan (Japanese)

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Bakku-shan (バックシャン) is a portmanteau of the English word “back”, and the German “schön” (beautiful).

Tsundoku (Japanese)

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▲ This one comes from 積む (tsumu), to pile or stack up, and 読  (doku) which refers to reading.

  Age-otori (Japanese)

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▲ Hopefully not one you’ll ever need to use! The first half of 上げ劣り (ageotori) means to raise up (in the sense of putting your hair up); the second half comes from 劣る (otoru) which is to be bad or inferior.

Now, let’s move on to the best of the rest:

Fernweh (German)

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Shlimazl (Yiddish)

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▲ Do you know any Shlimazls? If you answered no, maybe that means you’re the Shlimazl.

Backpfeifengesicht (German)

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Pochemuchka (Russian)

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Aware (Japanese)

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▲ One commenter on Anjana’s website suggested “ephemeral” as an English translation for aware (あわれ), although as another helpful netizen pointed out, “ephemeral doesn’t carry with it the notion of beauty“.

Ghiqq (Persian)

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▲ That little mustache is adorable!

Gökotta (Swedish)

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Gattara (Italian)

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▲ Of course in English we have “cat lady”, but that’s not specific to stray cats.

Friolero (Spanish)

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Lieko (Finnish)

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Papakata (Cook Islands Maori)

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Cúbóg (Irish)

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Schilderwald (German)

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▲ You can Google image-search this one, too, for a hilariously cluttered screen.

Utepils (Norwegian)

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▲ A commenter also suggests the word “lønningspils”, which refers to “a beer enjoyed on payday”. Marvellous!

Kaapshljmurslis (Latvian)

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▲ Frankly, I’m amazed more countries don’t have a word for this.

Iktsuarpok (Inuit)

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 Kyoikumama (Japanese)

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▲ 教育 (kyouiku) means “education”. Education-mama, then. Or education-crazed-mama, to be more specific.

Ilunga (Tshiluba)

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Schadenfreude (German)

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▲ This is a great, famous example of a word so good we just adopted it into English.

Tokka (Finnish)

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Wabi-Sabi (Japanese)

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▲ A noble attempt to explain a famously unexplainable concept in eight words! Neat illlustration, too! Not to be confused with ‘wasabi’.

You can find more of Anjana Iyer’s work on her website, or via the 100 days project on Facebook.

Source: Ichiroya no burogu,  Anjana Iyer
Images: Anjana Iyer