10 Mysterious Japanese Vocabularies that English Speakers Don’t Understand



10 Weird Japanese Vocabs


Japanese use weird vocabularies and expressions that come from another language.

Below are 10 Japanese vocabularies that English speakers find difficult to understand. Most Japanese believe that those are English words.

Without knowing unique Japanese vocabularies or expressions, Japanese face difficulties communicating with English speakers.

Have you heard any of those below?


1. アルバイト(あるばいと:arubaito)

This means part-time job. It’s not English at all! It’s from German “arbeit” which means a part-time job.


It’s used like this:

Guy A
 I’m looking for Arubaito!

Girl A
Do you know any good Arubaito around this area?



2. サラリーマン (さらりーまん:sarari-man)

It’s a combination of Salary and Man= Salary man.

Totally Japanese English! It just means office workers.


Below are examples:


Guy B
I don’t know what to do after graduation, but I don’t wanna be a Sarari-man.

Girl B
 My father is sarari-man and my mother is housewife.



3. OL (おーえる:o-eru)


OL stands for Office Lady, which English speakers don’t use at all.

It means female office workers.


Someone might use like:

Girl C
 I wanna be OL after I finish university and get marry with a rich guy! 

Girl D
I think I’ll quit OL if I become pregnant


4. コンセント (こんせんと:konsento)

What’s konsento? If you hear how Japanese say it, you might feel confused.

It is a socket or wall outlet.


Example would be:

Guy C
 Where is konsento? 

Girl E
 This office doesn’t have enough konsento


5. チャック (ちゃっく:chakku)


It means zipper. Chakku is used in Japan only.

It sounds like “check.”



Guy D
Can you close my chakku of backpack? 

Guy E
Oh no, my wallet’s chakku is broken and coins are all around in my bag



6. 段ボール (だんぼーる:dan-boru)



It sounds like some sort of ball? It’s not ball but cupboard. The reason why Japanese call cupboard dan-boru is because Mr. Inoue, who made first cupboard in Japan in 1909, used to put them in layer.

Dan-boru literally means layered cupboards. But somehow Japanese people couldn’t hear “board” correctly and changed it to “boar” then “boru.”


Somebody might say:

Guy F
Can you pass me the dan-boru? I need to pack some documents 



7. ホッチキス (ほっちきす:hocchikisu)

What? Hocchi Kiss?? Is it a kind of kiss?

It’s a stapler and Japanese use this because the first staplers imported to Japan was carried by E.H. Hotchikiss in USA.

Hocchikisu is also used in Korea.


Girl F
 I gotta buy a new hocchikisu because mine is old and not working well 


8. ノートパソコン (のーとぱそこん:noto-pasokon)

Pasokon means computer, which is abbreviation of personal computer. So it’s “Note Computer.”

It means laptop.


You can say something like:

Guy G
My noto-pasokon broke yesterday. I need to buy new one 

Girl G
 I wanna get a new noto-pasokon by Apple


9. アパート (あぱーと:apa-to)



It comes from apartment. Its meaning is similar to apartment in English, but it’s smaller like studio or bachelor and usually 2-3 floors.

Some are very cheap and have no shower. Thus residents are usually young individuals.

Guy H
Hey, how’s your new apato?

Girl H
I’m looking for a new apato as my work place has changed


10. マンション (まんしょん: manshon)



It means condominium in English. It’s taller and bigger than Apato.

And it’s more expensive to buy or rent. Although it comes from English word “Mansion,” Manshon in Japan is used for a block of apartment.


Guy I
Have you seen the new mansho right beside the station? Very cool 

Girl I
I think that Manshon is too expensive 




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