The beauty of foreign words


For Lateline, I recently read a book called Tokyo Vice that included a number of fascinating Japanese examples. My favourite was ‘doki’ which refers to a group of people who join a corporation at the same time; the sort of work family with whom you form a strangely unique bond which endures even after everybody moves on. There were also a number of different words for the generic English word ‘sadness’. ‘Setsunai’, according to author Jake Adelstein, is “a feeling of sadness and loneliness so powerful that it feels as if your chest is constricted, as if you can’t breathe; a sadness that is physical and tangible”. Another word ‘yarusenai’ means a grief or loneliness of which you can’t rid yourself.


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