Words that can't easily be expressed in other languages are interesting
because of the way they help illuminate underlying cultural differences.
Here are a few Japanese words and concepts that can't be easily
Ganbatte - A very popular word in Japan that is said often
and can mean anything from "Good luck" to "Try hard", to "Hang in
there". Often this concept is used when encouragement is given for
enduring a difficult situation.
Kondo - Literally translated as "Next time," this word can
often be used just to express politeness. For example, saying "Let's
go to the movie next time" would be interpreted in English as going
to a movie the next time the people got together, whereas in Japanese
it could mean sometime in the future or just an expression of going
to a movie would be a nice idea even if there was no intention of
doing so together with that person.
Ageru / Morau - Meaning "Giving" and "Receiving", the interesting
thing about these words is the fact that the right one needs to
be chosen depending on who is the subject of the sentence. In English
you can say 'I gave her the ball" and "She gave me the ball", using
the same word "gave" in both situations. In Japanese it would be
more like "I gave her the ball" (using ageru) and "The ball was
received from her" (using morau). In addition to just the act of
giving, these verbs are often used when explaining actions that
are done for another person.