My Favourite Word

I broke my keyboard so I’m working with compromised equipment. Apologies for possible typing errors in the text… which actually is nothing out of the ordinary.

Perchance this will only enhance what I’ll write.


I love reading, and writing. I’ve read hundreds, maybe thousands of books. I’ve written well over one million words. Some of it got published, most of it did not. And some of that got published not under my own name.

I also study languages. I speak 3 of them and understand plenty more. Each language has its own unique points that make it resonate with the user. I also believe that you only truly understand the meaning of any book if you read it in its original language.

Over the course of years I’ve come across many fine words. I like too many of them, but today I’m going to introduce you to some of my favourites. Mostly for fun.

Go, go.

Innuendo

Most of my favourite words have multiple meanings, or they are used to describe an act that can have multiple meanings.

While I’m not sure exactly why I like this word so much, I do like it. Perhaps because I like to use innuendo whenever possible (not the word itself).

According to the saurus, innuendo means:

innuendo – an indirect (and usually malicious) implication

Indirect implication. That’s innuendo, and that’s why I like it.

And of course, its the title of a Queen song:

Naruhodo

Naruhodo or なるほど is my favourite Japanese word. Its a versatile word that can be used to mean “I see,” “I understand” and “I get it now.”

Depending on the situation, naruhodo can mean multiple things. Its neat. I use it almost all the time when I’m speaking in Japanese, because it can also be used as “I understood what you just said,” -kind of filler. Fantastic word, really.

I’d say my spoken Japanese vocabulary consists of 95% naruhodo, and then the rest.

Actually, I’m convinced that you only need five words to survive in Japan: ohayo おはよう, oyasumi おやすみ sumimasen すみません (you will hear this one OFTEN in Japan), arigatou ありがとう and naruhodo なるほど.

I don’t have a song about the word naruhodo, but this is how you apologize in Japan:

Von

I got introduced to this word through the anime “Zankyou no Terror” or “Terror in Resonance.”

I know, many find anime to be something to be only for kids. This anime is a psychological anime that deals with heavy subjects like terrorism, mass panic and even human experimentation. Its not really for kids.

This word, Von, appears in the anime itself, but more importantly, in the background music. Von is Icelandic and it means “hope,” which fits the themes of the anime perfectly.

Yoko Kanno (one of the more famous composer in Japan) composed the music for the anime. She did a fantastic job, especially so with the song “Von,” (together with Arnór Dan) in the BGM.

This song and the word von represents the whole of Icelandic language to me. For its size, Iceland has many wonderful artists and its beautiful language to listen to.

In case you want to hear the original song, it can be found on soundcloud.

Sisu

This is my favourite Finnish word. Its a little difficult to explain what it means exactly, but its like trying to combine the inner spirit and inner strength together; the unwillingness to give up. All Finnish people have this trait, and it comes partly from the language we use and the lives we lead.

Finns don’t talk much. And when we do talk, we use words that are long and somewhat difficult to pronounce (at least for foreigners). Yet, sisu is short, and carries with it deep meaning. The deep meaning is what it is to be Finnish.

An example of this Finnish spirit can be found by studying history. During the Winter War (1939–1940) Finns fought against the Soviet Army against impossible odds. There was no way Finland could have stood against the Soviet might on paper, but what actually happened? Finland suffered losses of 70,000 men, while the Soviet Army had approximately 350,000 total casualties. Underestimated.

Note: Simo Häyhä (also dubbed “the White Death” by the Red Army) was a Finnish military sniper who alone shot ~500 enemy soldiers during the war, but he wasn’t the only great soldier in the ranks.

“The wise warrior avoids the battle.”

Sun Tzu

Finns are, for the most part, neutral on most issues. Most Finns (exceptions do exist) just want to be left alone, and in peace. We do the same to others.

What does it mean to be Finnish? Never giving up. That’s all.

Surprisingly enough, this song (cover song played by the Finnish band Apocalyptica), summarizes it well:

Vicarious

My absolute favourite word is vicarious.

What does it mean? It has many meanings, but its essentially this: experienced or felt by watching, hearing about, or reading about someone else rather than by doing something yourself.

Christopher Hitchens talked about “vicarious redemption,” it’s where I first heard the word. But later I found the song that perfectly demonstrates the meaning of the word, and our world.

The song is Vicarious By Tool:

The lyrics tell a story. This is how the song starts:

“Eye on the TV
‘Cause tragedy thrills me.
Whatever flavour
It happens to be like:
“Killed by the husband”,
“Drowned by the ocean”,
“Shot by his own son”,
“She used a poison in his tea”,
“And kissed him goodbye”.
That’s my kind of story.
It’s no fun ’til someone dies.”

Exactly how the world works. People seek thrills through stories on the TV (or screens in general). We are addicted to tragedy. We live our lives vicariously through these stories, without getting ourselves in harms way.

Its an addiction; like blood to a vampire. And then the song ends:

“Vicariously I live while the whole world dies.


Much better you than I.”

I still don’t know how to properly use this word in a text. I’ll figure it out one day. For now I just like it for what it is. It describes the world.

Why can’t we just admit it? Our morbid curiosity.

Christmas

There’s one more word I wanted to add to the list. Christmas has never been particularly important word to me, and I’ve never really felt the need to celebrate the event in any special way. Yet, I enjoy this time of the year, and I like to think its precisely because we still see it as being “Christmas.”

I know Christmas is mostly commercialized way to get people to spend money on gifts and on their loved ones. In Japan its a way to get people to buy and eat Kentucky Fried Chicken (yeah… I don’t get it either).

But its also the time when families get together to spend time and share precious moments together. Its time for quiet and peace. For some, its also time for religious celebration. There are many good reasons for Christmas to exist.

There’s now push towards making Christmas into just another holiday. This is a move that can not come to pass. It’s Christmas, and it’ll stay that way. Thank you very much.

Merry Christmas to all my readers.


The world’s a mess right now, yes. But it will all be alright in the end.

This last song has nothing to do what was written before, but it may make you smile a little:

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