In a couple of previous articles, I’ve talked about original phrases in Japanese that succinctly and elegantly describe situations and behaviors that you can only clumsily talk around in English. However, luckily for learners of Japanese, the language has an almost endless supply of these words. So here are three more fun, unique words.

間接キス – Kansetsu Kisu

This phrase literally translates to indirect kiss and refers to the action of taking a sip out of someone else’s drink. The logic behind this is that if two people drink from the same glass, their lips have both been on the same object. So in a way, they have indirectly kissed each other. The opposite phrase, meaning a direct kiss, would be 直接キス (Chokusetsu kisu).

Here are some examples:

風邪を引いた人と間接キスしても感染はしないですか – Will I get sick from sharing a glass with someone who has a cold?

間接キスしても気にならないんだよ- I don’t mind if you take a sip from my glass.

過労死 – Karōshi 

This word has become famous in the English speaking world, and chances are you might have already heard of it. Karōshi literally means death from overwork, and means exactly what it sounds like. Karoshi is considered to be a major problem in Japan, as it is not uncommon for people to work several hours of overtime every day.

Here are some examples:

過労死の症状などにも注意してください – Please keep an eye out for symptoms of Karōshi.

過労死するまで仕事を辞めない日本人はどうして多いのですか? – Why are there so many Japanese people who won’t quit their jobs until it’s too late and they die from overwork?

口寂しい – Kuchisabishii

A literal interpretation of this word would be the awkward sounding mouth-miss. In actuality however, this word refers to a strong craving or desire for a good snack, or just something to put in your mouth. Let’s say you’ve had a long stressful week at work and it’s been ages since you’ve been able to relax and eat some chocolate, or ice cream or something tasty. You need a good satisfying snack to munch on. That feeling is succinctly encapsulated by kuchisabishii.

Here are some examples:

口寂しい時は何を食べればいいでしょう?- What’s a good thing to eat when you’re having a craving?

口寂しい時に太らないおやつはないですか?- Are there any snacks that won’t make you gain weight when you’re craving something to eat?



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