Lost in Translation: 14 Amazing Asian Words with No English Equivalent

With over 170,000 words in current use, the English language is pretty expansive. But to believe that it (or any other language for that matter) can express every emotion, situation and feeling that we experience is a bit absurd; we’ve probably found ourselves searching for the right word, always seeming to come up short. For your vocabulary-expanding benefit, here’s a list of some words from some Asian languages that have managed to find that right word where English could not.

1 Boketto (Japanese): the action of just staring out blankly without any thoughts

2 热闹 (Pin Yin: Rènào): implies crowdedness and lots of noise and activity, but in the positive sense

3 Pambahay (Tagalog): your “house clothes (aka sweatpants, t-shirt, etc.)”
or clothes you’d wear in private spaces

4 Sayang (Tagalog): interjection that connotes frustration over a near-miss

5 Betsubara (Japanese): translates loosely to “extra stomach”; is meant to describe a woman that always has room for dessert

6 撒 娇 / 撒嬌 (sa-jiao), sai-nai in Taiwanese Hokkien: Sulky, whiny, cutesy, coaxing, coy, spoiled, clingy, and coquettish are all used to describe it, but no single English word encompasses it. (From my interpretation, it’s like aegyo in Korean.)

7 Yuanfen (Chinese): a fated relationship or a relationship that has been destined

8 Gigil (Tagalog): the urge to squeeze or pinch something because it’s so cute

9 Nunchi (Korean): the understated or subtle ability to be able to read another’s feelings or mood by listening to them, like emotional intelligence

10 Greng-jai (Thai): That sense you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a burden for them

11 잘한척 (Korean): Romanized roughly as “jalhancheok”. It roughly means when one shows off or is cocky for something that he/she doesn’t deserve to gloat over

12 Mencolek (Indonesian): describes the prank people play on each other when you tap someone on the shoulder from behind to trick them

13 Kilig (Tagalog): the inexplicable feeling of being intoxicated by when something romantic happens; feeling as if you’re on “cloud nine” because of love, or at least the idea of it

14 Koi No Yokan (Japanese): when you meet someone for the first time, feeling that you two are going to fall in love

Know of any other words? Let us know in the comment section!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

The Daily SHAG | Super Junior’s Lee Donghae

For those of you familiar with the K-Pop scene, you may be familiar with today’s SHAG, Lee Donghae, known simply as Donghae by his teems of fans. A member of the SM Entertainment mega-group Super Junior, Donghae originally wanted to be an athlete, but was convinced by his father to pursue singing.After winning an SM-sponsored contest in 2001, alongside future band member Sungmin, Donghae was casted into SM Entertainment and made his official debut with the group in 2005.

hae-ceci-ipad-part-6-4Despite being in a 12-person group, Donghae has made his own mark on the K-Pop scene, for not only his musical talents as a singer-songwriter-dancer, but also for his eye-catching looks. With a perfect smile and chiseled body, Donghae has mastered the elusive boy-next-door look, if your next door neighbor happened to be a gorgeous, multi-hyphenated K-Pop star. And with SuJu showing no signs of slowing down, we’re more than happy to see much more of Donghae in the future.


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All images courtesy of Google

Hugo Boss & Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum Team Up for Contemporary Asian Art

Search “Asian art” on any popular search engine, and more likely than not, you’ll end up finding images of statues, prints and paintings from centuries ago and dynasties past. However, as acclaimed fashion label Hugo Boss and Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum want us to realize, the contemporary art scene in Asia is much more than that — it is thriving, developing and dynamic. The acclaimed fashion label and esteemed museum have teamed up to establish the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award in China to “specifically support this region of the art world, which is burgeoning in artistic energy and production.”

The award will be given out every two years to one of a number of select finalists, who are all up-and-coming Chinese artists “from Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.” The winner of the inaugural award, who will win a stipend of ¥300,000 (over $48,000), will be announced at a special group exhibition at the Rockbund, starting this September. This year’s finalists include:

– Birdhead, Shanghai
– Hsu Chiawei, Taipei
– Hu Xiangqian, Beijing
– Kwan Sheung Chi, Hong Kong
– Lee Kit, Hong Kong, Taipei
– Li Liao, Shenzhen
– Li Wei, Beijing

CollageTop Row (L to R): Birdhead, Hsu Chiawei, Hu Xiangqian, Kwan Sheung Chi; Bottom Row (L to R): Lee Kit, Li Lao, Li Wei


This year’s internationally-based jury are esteemed figures in the art world, all of whom have made a positive impact on the development of contemporary art both in Asia and around the globe.

In addition to the award, the fashion power house and art haven have joined forces and resources to develop an educational and research program devoted to exploring the strengths and challenges facing contemporary Asian art, including panels and interviews with jury members and finalists.

The Hugo Boss Asia Art award is an exciting and much-needed distinction that is much more than a simple recognition of artistic ability. With both the award and accompanying program, the efforts of both Hugo Boss and the Rockbund are an important, and multi-faceted, affirmation of the ever-strengthening and ever-growing presence of Asia in the international art scene and opens the doors for both present and future artists to pursue their craft.

Featured photo: (Top Row, L to R) Li Wei, “I’m Calm”; Lee Kit, “How to set up an apartment for Johnny”; Hu Xiangqian; “Xiangqian Art Museum (Beijing)”; (Bottom Row, L to R) Hsu Chiawei, “The Temple on the Island”; Hsu Chiawei, “Hual-Mo Village”; Birdhead, “Ballad on Climbing Youzhou Tower”

For more information and to see works from all of this year’s finalists, check out Hugo Boss.

Posted in Art

Dream Destinations | Asia’s “Newest Wonders” & Its “Best Islands”

This past July, Travel & Leisure released the list of the “Newest Wonders of the World,” a list, compiled by UNESCO, of World Heritage sites, or places around the globe that have “cultural, historical and environmental importance.”  In addition, the well-known travel mag released their picks (with the help of readers) of the “World’s Best Islands,” complete with white-sand beaches and romantic get-aways. Seeing these lists will spark the travel bug in anyone, and we’re very happy to say that Asia is well-featured on the list.  Take a look below for the newest additions to our travel bucket-list in Asia.

The Newest World Wonders

Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China
Located in southern Yunnan and over 1300 years old, the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces are a complex system developed by the Hani people to channel water from the Ailao Mountains to their as-equally sophisticated terraces and farms.


Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India
Found in the Aravalli Mountains lies six forts that are “a standing testament to the power that Rajput princes enjoyed from the 8th to 18th century.” These series of eclectic forts utilizes the natural surroundings, such as hills, deserts and rivers, as defense while also using fortified walls to protect temples, palaces and other structures.


Mount Fuji, Japan
Also known as “Fujisan,” Mount Fuji has become an icon of Japan, serving as an artistic muse as well as a site of sacred pilgrimage. As described by UNESCO, “The inscribed property consists of 25 sites which reflect the essence of Fujisan’s sacred landscape” including Shengen-jinja shrines, natural volcanic features, lakes and waterfalls.

Kaesong’s Historical Sites, Korea
Located in the often-elusive DPRK and near the demilitarized zone, Kaesong is made up of 12 different sites that tell the story of Korea’s Koryo Dynasty.

Xinjiang Tianshan, China
Taking up over 600,000 hectares and part of Central Asia’s Tianshin mountain range, Xinjian Tianshin is made up of a four geographically diverse components (Tomur, Kalajun-Kuerdening, Bayinbukuke and Bogda), ranging from snow-capped mountains to forests and meadows to wide-spanning deserts.

World’s Best Islands
Palawan, Philippines (No. 1)
A favorite get-away of both local and foreign celebrities (including Mariah Carey, Pretty Little Liars’ Shay Mitchell, and Rachel Weisz), Palawan has a pure, almost surreal beauty that is something out of a movie.  When you’re there, go diving in the area’s warm waters and find yourself surrounded by natural coral reefs and abundant tropical fish or check out the world’s longest underground, navigable river.


Boracay, Philippines (No. 2)
An hour’s plane ride away from the hustle and bustle of Manila, Boracay offers visitors white-sand beaches, crystal clear blue water and a well-developed nightlife scene.


Bali, Indonesia (No. 6)
With its myriad of landscapes, ranging from rice terraces to rugged coastlines (not to mention to the world-famous beaches), Bali has become one of Indonesia’s largest tourist attractions, drawing in people from all over the globe for its “world-class surfing and diving, a large number of cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, and an enormous range of accommodations (Wiki).”

Koh Samui, Thailand (No. 9)
This 13-mile wide island, referred to as simply “Samui” by locals, is a favorite of beach-lovers and backpackers alike with its numerous and beautiful natural resources, perfect beaches, clear water and coral reefs.


Phuket, Thailand (No. 15)
The largest island in Thailand, Phuket is the Southeast Asian country’s most developed isle with world-renowned beaches, affordable (and more expensive) dining, fancy resorts and much more.  Be sure to make your way to the almost-undiscovered Mai Khao Beach or the visually stunning Phang Nga Bay.


For more information on this year’s additions to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites as well as a complete list of all World Heritage Sites, visit UNESCO.

[All images courtesy of Google]

Asians in Fashion | Kiko Mizuhara for 3.1 Phillip Lim, Fall/Winter 2013

The Japanese-based model-actress (and rumored former GF of Bigbang’s G-Dragon) stars in this fall’s campaign for the popular brand 3.1 Phillip Lim.  Photographed in Tokyo by But Sou Lai, Kiko is joined by British model Louis Simonon.  As noted by Elle, the ads “called “Sonomama,” were inspired by a Japanese phrase meaning “the way you are.”  Much to our delight, the campaign is accompanied by a film, where you see the pair and their friends living the life in Tokyo (complete with a breakdancing session).




For more images from the campaign, check out 3.1 Phillip Lim’s site.


Awesome Story of the Day: KevJumba Builds School in Africa With YouTube Views

For many who watch his videos, Kevin Wu, better known as KevJumba, is known as a funny man.  With original and comedic videos like “Nice Guys” and an appearance on CBS’ The Amazing Race with his father, Kevin has gained a substantial and loyal following (4+ million subscribers strong).  Recently, on The Huffington Post, Kevin describes how his audience helped him help those in need, on a continent on the other side of the globe.

Back in 2009, Kevin began his YouTube charity called JumbaFund.  From this channel, all ad revenue from viewer hits would go directly to charity.  For the first two years, money from the channel went to various charities.  But after a life-changing trip to Nairobi in 2011, during which he taught a classroom of 5th graders, Kevin made the decision to donate his incoming ad revenue from JumbaFund to The Supply — a group that “creates and runs secondary schools based on an innovative low-cost school model focusing on localized education, service learning, and financial sustainability.”  After raising over $50,000, the KevJumba High School was opened in Lenana, Kenya.

Though the school is named after him, Kevin does not take all of the credit for this incredible act and remains humble, blessed and grateful to his viewers:

Celebrities tend to receive most of the credit when it comes to philanthropy. I am aware that my efforts could be categorized as such, however I feel that the real credit deserves to go to my viewers – without them, it would not be possible for me to support The Supply and KevJumba High School. I feel incredibly blessed that I can use YouTube to provide a platform for the voices of so many children that go unheard. These children deserve a chance. Imagine, with the opportunity to educate themselves, children in the slums around the world could grow up to become doctors, lawyers or teachers – to improve the quality of life of their families and their community. We have all had mentors in our life – people to help guide us and make good decisions. Thanks to my viewers who support my cause and the work on the ground being done by The Supply, we can all play a role in making the difference in the education and lives of these children.


Get the Look for Back to School | Asian Models Edition

Sure, it may be the middle of summer, but in less time than you might realize, school will be back in session.  Though the thought of hitting the textbooks and late-night study sessions can be a bit of a downer, some back-to-school shopping may lift your spirits.  For this upcoming school year, ditch the college co-ed uniform of leggings and a t-shirt and take some cues from some our favorite models’ off-duty style.


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The first Asian winner of Ford’s prestigious Supermodel of the World contest shows off an easy, but put together look in her basic shift dress. Pair one with a low-rise, cut-out ankle boot — comfort and style in one! As for your books, a tote is a great alternative to the traditional backpack — and we love this polka-dot shopper from Target (inspired by Hyoni’s shopping bag!)!
(1 – James Perse, Woven Shift Dress; 2 – Emma Louise London, Feather Ombre Shift; 3 – See by Chloe, ; 4 – Ecote, Cut Out Lace-up Ankle Boot; 5 – Merona, Dot Tote Bag)


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Channel this Vogue Nippon cover girl’s cool, but quirky Parisian chic by pairing a simple skater skirt with a striped tee and a top-handle purse with lots of personality. But while we love Kiko’s ankle-strap heels for night, they’re clearly not campus-friendly; when heading for your classes, throw on a pair of sneakers in a bright, neon color for a fun burst of color.
(1 – T by Alexander Wang, Linen Stripe Tee; 2 – Topshop, Black Seamed Skater Skirt; 3 – Marc by Marc Jacobs, Too Hot to Handle Tote; 4 – Zara, Combined Sandal with Stiletto Heel ; 5 – Superga, Classic Cotu Sneaker)


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Take on the monochrome look like Park Ji Hye and pair an eye-catching blouse with a pair of well-fitted jeans and classic ankle boots. A navy blue messenger bag is the perfect complement to this black and white get-up (and the perfect carry-all).
(1 – Bonne Chance Collections, “The New Girl Blouse”; 2 – Zara Combined Blouse; 3 – Forever 21 Striped Georgette Shirt; 4 – Cambridge Satchel; 5 – Topshop Angeles, “Western Boots”)


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Another simple, but stylish piece to have is the romper or playsuit. Take cues from this Filipina model and find one that nips in at the waist. Worn with classic sneakers and with easy hair and makeup, it’s a no-fail, frill-free look.
1 – LOVE; 2 – Rag & Bone; 3 – Topshop; 4 – Keds; 5 – Aldo
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One of the stars of this year’s Fall/Winter Chanel campaign, Soo Joo shows us how to wear statement jacket. Make sure the rest of your outfit is neutral, so when the jacket is draped over your shoulders, it draws just the right amount of attention.
1 – Dorothy Perkins; 2 – Puma x Hussein Chalayan; 3 – Suno; 4 – H&M; 5 – Zara; 6 – Carven; 7 – Lanvin


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We’re in love with this simple, yet fashion-forward outfit from Liu Wen. Pair a structured skirt (or in this case, a skort — yes, shorts that look like a skirt) with a loose-fitting boyfriend tee. As for your footwear, while the Lancome model opts for leather ankle boots, we love the idea of a heavy sole leather sandal as a comfortable way to add edge to the outfit.
(1 – Monki Lerima Top; 2 – Zara Culotte Wrap Mini; 3 – Zara Two-tone Bowling Bag; 4 – Zara Mini Office City Bag; 5 – Topshop Fran Heavy Sole)


Copy Right: Our Favorite Asian American YouTube Covers

“Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery.” It’s a phrase that’s well-known and is undoubtedly true in the world of music covers, where artists take songs and put their own spin on their favorite tracks.

For many, like us here at Audrey, finding well-made covers of popular tracks is like searching for gold — it can be a hard search, and you may have to sift through a lot of crap, but it’s amazing once you find it.

Sure, there are thousands of covers online, but what makes these special? In a musical landscape that has yet to fully open up to Asian/Asian American acts, YouTube has emerged as a prime platform for young Asian American artists to connect with fans, show off their musical talents and share their own music, on their own terms — and that’s an amazing thing.

These “YouTube stars” have gained fame through their creative musical stylings of Top 40 hits, and some of our personal favorites are below!


Gabe Bondoc – The Way (Ariana Grande ft. Mac Miller)

This stripped down of this ‘90s-Mariah Carey-esque song keeps the feel-good emotions of the song. Gabe’s soulful vocals coupled with the song’s loving lyrics and his skillful handling of Mac Miller’s raps are a perfect fit, making you almost forget that it’s a cover.


Passion – Somebody that I Used to Know/Are You That Somebody (Gotye/Aaliyah)

Just watch this.  It’s amazing.  Really.


Lydia Paek – Bad Boy (Big Bang)

The Quest Crew member, turned producer for K-Pop heavyweight YG Entertainment, (her credits include Park Bom’s “Don’t Cry” and Lee Hi’s “1234”) sings the Big Bang hip-hop ballad with an effortless cool that makes you want to put this on repeat. Lydia and Bigbang’s Taeyang have also joked about covering GD’s “In the End,” and with this cover proving her musical chops, we hope they end up following through.


Jeni Suk – Suit & Tie (JT)

Jeni puts a slower, R&B vibe on JT’s “20/20” debut single, a perfect take on the track, if you ask us.


AJ Rafael & Albert Posis – That Should Be Me/Wedding Dress (Justin Bieber/Taeyang)

In this early morning cover, this duo skillfully combines these two ballads, likely much to the delight of both Beliebers and VIP’s (Justin Bieber and Bigbang’s fandoms, respectfully).


Joseph Vincent & Jason Chen – “I Want it That Way” (Backstreet Boys)

If you’re a ‘90s kid, there’s no doubt that you know the words of this song. Joseph Vincent and Jason Chen channel their inner boyband and take on the BSB classic (with a cute video to match!).


Paul Kim & David So – “I Need a Girl” (Taeyang)

The soulful Paul Kim teams up with funny man David So and guitarist Abe Lim for this almost-too-sweet-for-words cover of Taeyang’s K-Pop hit.


Us – “We Found Love” (Rihanna)

Michael and Carissa Alvarado, who make up the über-talented duo Us, strip down the Rihanna hit and impress with their beautiful harmonies. Knowing that they’re together in real life makes the cover pull at your heartstrings that much more.

And while these are just a couple of our picks, let us know what some of your favorites are!

Lee Hyori for “Dazed and Confused”: Appropriation or Appreciation?

Lee Hyori

As I was making my daily K-Pop news round-up, I couldn’t help but notice a photo of K-Pop diva Lee Hyori’s new cover for Dazed & Confused (Korea). Besides the interesting use wordplay and homonyms on the cover (“Beach Bitch”), what is most striking is the editorial concept used for the cover and accompanying editorial. Hyori is styled with face paint, a head dress and feathers, with her hair in two braids, supposed indicators of “Native American” dress, very reminiscent to Michelle Williams’ cover of AnOther magazine released earlier this year. At least for me, the “Indian Summer” concept (as indicated on the cover and is another issue in and of itself) is taken too literally and crosses the fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Hyori; she’s stunning and has an awesome personality (Family Outing, anyone?). It’s just disappointing that the editors of “Dazed” would allow this and that she, or at least her management, would agree to it. An editorial with summertime clothes wouldn’t have sufficed?

For me, the issue with this cover and with many other instances like this, is that traditional cultures are used like thematic costumes, with a lack of understanding about the cultures themselves. The beautiful, rich, and diverse culture of the Native American community is being diluted into a stereotype or simple archetype that assumes homogeneity. Or more simply put, photos and images like these re-emphasize the idea that all Native Americans are the same, which is blatantly inaccurate and culturally insensitive.

But, why does this even matter? It’s just a magazine, right? Well, not exactly. As put best by Metcalfe (Turtle Mountain Chippewa from North Dakota) in an article for Jezebel:

“There isn’t just one Native American culture. There are hundreds. And there are millions of Native people. And we’re being ignored. We’re being told that we don’t have rights over how we are represented in mainstream America. We are being told that we should ‘get over it’ – but the people who are saying this don’t even know what the issues are. When people know of us only as a ‘costume,’ or something you dress up as for Halloween or for a music video, then you stop thinking of us as people, and this is incredibly dangerous because everyday we fight for the basic human right to live our own lives without outsiders determining our fate or defining our identities.”

Though this particular cover is directly related to the Native American community, this is an issue that is not exclusive to them; for years, various cultures, including Asian cultures, have been and continue to be commodified into cultural products for mass consumption, and not necessarily for cultural understanding. Geisha costumes run rampant, Selena Gomez’s stage costume includes a bindi, and that’s just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg, the majority of which can’t be examined in this brief post. But, that difference between using culture as an aesthetic accessory versus using it as a tool for cognizance is what separates what is “okay” from “not okay.” More interestingly and more notably, the Korean cover itself proves that this issue extends much farther than the borders of the US and is a global issue.

Yes, cultural appropriation is a hot-button, sensitive topic.  But instances like these remind us of the continued importance of understanding and appreciating other’s histories, cultures and backgrounds for the simple, but powerful reason of respect. And as an increasingly global community, it’s even more important to view cultures, customs and dress that’s different from our own as more than just trend, but as an integral part of someone’s identity and history.

Asians in Fashion | G-Dragon for Vogue Korea

To celebrate their 17th anniversary, Vogue Korea is releasing three versions of their latest issue, which will be available this August. On the cover is none other than Big Bang’s leader, the ever-stylish G-Dragon. The “One of a Kind” singer-rapper-songwriter shows off three very different sides of himself in each cover, appearing alongside top Korean models Soo Joo, Sunghee Kim and Jihye Park.