Onomatope (onomatopoeia)

Onomatope are Japanese onomatopoeia. The language is full of them and it feels like new ones are being created all the time. Most of them seem to be made up of a one or two syllable “word” repeated twice. Some examples:

Weather

shin shin – quietly falling snow

kon kon – heavy snowfall

potsu potsu – rain that’s just starting

shito shito – soft, summer rain

para para – medium rain

zaa zaa zaa – downpour

 

Objects

sube sube – something smooth that feels good to the touch (skin or material)

tzuru tzuru – shiny and smooth, slippery (i.e. ice)

fua fua – something jello-like

beto beto – wet and sticky (ie. sticky rice)

pichi pichi – something smooth and tight (apparently used to describe a young woman’s body…)

 

Feelings

meso meso – whimpering

same zame – crying silently

wan wan – crying loudly

kuyo kuyo – being very disappointed in something

doki doki – nervousness or excitement, usually because of something good

hara hara – nervousness about something bad

 

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