CONTRIBUTED BY KAHO
Kaho’s Japanese Corner: Natsukashi and Mottainai
This first one is a Japanese word that Mere sometimes uses. It’s “natsukashi”. I love this word. There is no one word translation in English for this word. Natsukashi (na-tsu-car without ‘r’-she) is the feeling you have when something brings you back old memories. It has a positive connotation, so it brings back fond memories which make you feel warm inside.
If you hear the 80’s music that you used to listen to all the time, what you might feel is “natsukashi” feeling.
When you visit a place you used to live (it could be as recent as a few years ago), you feel natsukashi.
You meet with your friends from high school and talk about the fun time you had together, the feeling you would have is “natsukashi”.
You find a book that you used to read when you were little, you feel “natsukashi”.
We’re leaving Okinawa in a month and I know that the beautiful blue ocean in Okinawa, city, people, music, food and even the hot summer will feel “natsukashi” in a few months.
“Mottainai (mop without ‘p’-tie-night without ‘t’) is a great word which explains the Japanese culture. It means “wasteful” and more. Japan is a country of limited resource. The Japanese, therefore, try to make the maximum use out of everything.
If you throw out some parts of vegetables that are edible, some people might say that it’s “mottainai”.
If you try to get rid of some clothes that you didn’t wear much and don’t wear any more, some would say “mottainai”.
Throwing out left over food is “mottainai”.
My 3-year-old daughter sometimes uses a lot of toilet paper and I tell her it’s “mottainai”.
Your passing an opportunity to have a great experience such as getting accepted to a great school or receiving a job offer from a good company is “mottainai” to some people.
Some people say “mottainai” to everything and end up becoming a pack rat. I don’t know what is good. If I don’t move, I could become a pack rat. The life style we have thanks to my husband’s job allows us to go over our belongings and sort through so that we only keep what we really need. Mottainai—.
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