‘Have you read this?’ I asked, carefully sliding a book out of my flatmate’s bookshelf. ‘Can I borrow it?’ ‘I haven’t read it yet,’ she said. ‘But sure.’ I was surprised, because I don’t like to lend out books until I’ve read them myself, but wasn’t about to argue. ‘You know,’ she said. ‘There’s a word in Japanese that describes people who buy books, but don’t read them, yet keep on buying more.’ ‘That’s awesome,’ I said, trying to slink out of her room without her rescinding her book-loaning offer.
I couldn’t pay much attention to her at the time (it is harder than one might think, trying to leave a bedroom whilst pretending you are not holding a large hard-backed book), but I’ve been thinking about that Japanese word ever since.
Here, therefore, are some words that don’t exist in English but ought to:
- The person who repeatedly buys near-identical versions of the same thing, and then wonders why they don’t have the perfect capsule wardrobe
- The feeling of overwhelming rage when hearing the words ‘perfect capsule wardrobe’.
- The surreptitious act of checking Tinder in public.
- The irresistible attraction of wires and cables (computer, TV, charging) to one another.
- The bleakness when faced with the impossibility of ever untangling those wires.
- The heart-stopping anxiety of hearing your alarm used as someone else’s ringtone.
- The feeling of bliss when you wake up, think you’re late, then realise it’s Saturday
- Which is second only to the happiness of watching a teacher wheel a TV into your classroom.
- The increasing antsiness of waiting for someone to meet you in a public place, where they might approach from any direction.
- Wanting to know if you’re going to be offered pudding, so you can manage your expectations accordingly, but not being able to find a polite way to ask your host.