10 Japanese Words with Adorable Meanings!

  • Certain languages have been known around the world to have stereotypes in terms of intonation, words, and even the accompanying verbal language. For example, the German language is seen as gruff and has strong nuances with many “ach” growling sounds. The French language has been called unintelligible and likened to talking while having one’s mouth stuffed full and contorted with stretched out “ee”s and no h’s. Australians have all sorts of funky expressions that are seemingly senseless. The Chinese language has been compared to banging pots and pans with exaggerated tones and expressions. The Indian languages are infamous for sounds made by rolling the tongue, as well as the metronomic head bobble that accompanies and provides the rhythm for speech.

    Now what about the Japanese? While most Japanese are polite and soft-spoken (the exception being when they are drunk), the linguistic aspect of a word itself plays a part too in setting the tone and how it is enunciated. For example, the Italian phrases “Delicioso!” or “Mamma Mia!”, inevitably embody a upbeat, boisterous, lively tone that represents a part of Italian culture. And in the Japanese language, adjectives are often onomatopoeia that describe the sound made by that action.

    Some of them may not make sense to foreigners, but then again think of how many ways there are to say hi, or how differently a dog’s bark is heard through each language. As such, the repetition of two identical words to make a sound result in Japanese phrases injected with extreme cuteness that are oftentimes accompanied by equally cute body language (think duck face, peace signs, a bounce in the step, and the like) ! These phrases are not gender specific, though the you may well assume that the female gender does seem to reflect a more kawaii かわいい demeanor.

    1. Gorogoro ゴロゴロ

    A rumbling sound that may be used on thunder, stomachs, or cats. It may also mean to spend the day idly or lazing around.

    2. Fuwafuwa ふわふわ

    Commonly used to describe bread, marshmallows or soft fluffy food in general (the Japanese love this texture).

    3. Pocchari ぽっちゃり

    Used on someone who is adorably chubby or plump! Like the little furball raccoon at Yamanashi zoo! Aww.

    4. Peko peko ペコペコ

    The sound made when you’re hungry. My tummy is peko peko! It could also mean to bow, kowtow or obey.

    5. Icha icha イチャイチャ

    Used to describe flirty, mushy, touchy-feely or lovey-dovey behavior.

    6. Giri giri ギリギリ

    Made it in the nick of time!

    7. Saku saku サクサク

    Used to describe objects that are crisp or crunchy, such as apples, pie crusts, snow, etc.

    8. Mochi mochi もちもち

    Usually used to describe a food texture that is soft and chewy, just like the mochi glutinous rice cake!

    9. Mogu mogu モグモグ

    The sound made when munching or chomping, much like “omnomnom”.

    10. Puchi puchi ぷちぷち

    Used to describe objects that are springy or lumpy. May also translate to the sound of bubbles being popped, which led to the homonymous moniker for bubble wrap. There’s even a bubble wrap toy!

    There are plenty more but that’s it for now; it’s time to get imaginative with the accompanying actions! Do any cute phrases in your language come to mind?

    Featured image: jp.fotolia.com/