4 Words Not to Mix Up in Japan!

  • Ahh, new languages. The fun. The excitement. The horror of miscommunication. Here are a few English and Japanese words you don’t want to use in the wrong situations. Some of these mistakes could accidentally turn some innocent conversations into more ‘adult’ situations, so watch out!

    1. Chin

    It sounds innocent, sure enough. Until you ask a bunch of 2nd graders to touch their chins during a round of ‘Simon Says’. The boys nervously giggle, and the girls look confused. It turns out, chin, although innocent enough in English, means penis, or more appropriately translated, pee-pee in Japanese. Especially if you repeat it twice. Remember, don’t scratch your chin in public.

    2. Fella

    Sure, this word sounds casual and normal in English.

    How you doing, fella? I met a nice fella last week at the game. Going for a few drinks with the fellas tonight! Well, unless you are very special friends, you might want to avoid this word, which is the Katakana short version for fellatio. Not the evening with the guys you had planned.

    3. Kuchi

    This Japanese word is not dirty, not in the least! It simply means mouth. Rinse your kuchi. Close your kuchi. Don’t eat with your kuchi open. However, in English slang, it means… well… lady bits. You can imagine the looks on foreigners’ faces when someone they meet starts talking about ‘kuchi’. Make sure to brush up on basic Japanese names of body parts before you freak out!

    4. Napkin

    Well, this is not exactly a bad word, but one that causes confusion. A napkin, in English, is a cloth found on a dinner table, used to wipe your mouth. You know, if you dribble soup and such. In Japanese, it means sanitary pad. So, if you find yourself in a fancy Tokyo restaurant and ask for an extra napkin to wipe up a wine spill, don’t be surprised if the waiter blushes a little and then slides a sanitary pad to you discreetly under the table.

    The more you know!

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