Sunday, February 24, 2008

Let's Learn Japanese: Kuuki Yomenai

A very useful (yet difficult-to-translate) Japanese phrase is kuuki yomenai. Literally translated, kuuki yomenai means "can't read the air." It is used to describe people who lack social tact. The written phrase looks like this:


Always the innovators, Japanese young people have recently abbreviated kuuki yomenai to the Roman alphabet letters "K.Y." But sometimes just saying that someone is kuuki yomenai doesn't do justice to that person's lack of social skills. Sometimes you need to take it up a notch. At times like these, you have to use chou kuuki yomenai:


That means "REALLY can't read the air," and is abbreviated "C.K.Y."

I want everyone back home in the US who reads this to try using "K.Y." or "C.K.Y." in daily conversation. When someone asks you what it means, tell them what it means, then tell them to start using it.

The English language needs a phrase like this.


homeby8drunkby10 said...

A very useful phrase over here, very good advice, the only problem with it is that back home K.Y. usually means "sexual lubricant". But, to each his own!


Jesse Jace said...

It also means "Kentucky," but I'm not gonna be the guy who explains to an entire state that their postal abbreviation is an embarrassment.

c0rnflakes said...

Thanks for sharing!
In Cantonese, we also have the word 超(chiu) which is very common among daily conversations. It also means 'really'

Anonymous said...

Closest English equivalent would probably be "reading the atmosphere", or something similar.