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Words in Japanese Describing Textures and Materials

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Learning a language is not just about being able to communicate basic ideas; it’s also about being able to express yourself with rich and descriptive vocabulary. In Japanese, there are many words for describing the various textures and materials one might encounter in daily life. Mastering this set of vocabulary will take your Japanese conversational and descriptive skills to a new level.

つるつる (Tsurutsuru) – Smooth or slippery
When you run your hand over something that feels sleek without any roughness, the word ‘tsurutsuru’ is used.

このテーブルは表面がつるつるしていて、触り心地がいい。
This table’s surface is smooth and feels nice to touch.

ざらざら (Zarazara) – Coarse or gritty
Surfaces that are rough or sandy to the touch can be described with the term ‘zarazara’.

この壁はざらざらしていて、少し手が痛いです。
This wall is coarse and it hurts my hand a bit.

ふわふわ (Fuwafuwa) – Soft or fluffy
Something that is light and soft, often something airy or cushiony like a pillow or a cloud, is described as ‘fuwafuwa’.

このケーキはふわふわしていて、食べると溶けるみたい。
This cake is so fluffy; it feels like it melts when you eat it.

かたい (Katai) – Hard or solid
For objects that are firm and resistant to pressure or impact, ‘katai’ is the appropriate descriptor.

このパンはちょっとかたいから、トーストして食べたい。
This bread is a bit hard, so I want to toast it before eating.

しっとり (Shittori) – Moist or damp
The quality of slight wetness, usually in a positive sense such as with a moist cake or skincare product, is conveyed with ‘shittori’.

このハンドクリームは手をしっとりさせます。
This hand cream makes your hands moist.

さらさら (Sarasara) – Silky or smooth flowing
Describing things like fine powders or hair that is smooth and flows easily, ‘sarasara’ captures this sensation.

彼女の髪はさらさらで、とても綺麗だ。
Her hair is silky and very beautiful.

べたべた (Betabeta) – Sticky or tacky
When a surface is sticky to the touch, like tape or chewed gum, the word ‘betabeta’ is perfect to describe it.

この机の上は何かがこぼれたのか、べたべたする。
The top of this desk is sticky; maybe something spilled.

ガラス (Garasu) – Glass
While not a texture, ‘garasu’ is the material of glass which stands out for its smoothness and fragility.

窓のガラスが割れて、床がつるつるしている。
The window glass is broken, and the floor is slippery.

(Ki) – Wood
Another common material, ‘ki’ refers to wood often associated with textures ranging from smooth to rough depending on the finish.

このテーブルは木でできていて、とても頑丈だ。
This table is made of wood and very sturdy.

With these words in your vocabulary arsenal, you’ll be set to describe a multitude of textures and materials in Japanese, adding depth and expressiveness to your conversations. Remember, when learning new vocabulary, practice is key. Try incorporating these words into your daily speaking and writing to solidify your knowledge and become more adept at expressing nuanced details in Japanese.

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