Cafuné – the act of tenderly running fingers through someone’s hair
Brazilian-Portuguese: For the third time in my life, I’m caught in a daze, I tripped over the heart of a beautiful girl, and stumbled, helpless, straight into her gaze, now nothing else matters, but her beautiful curls. People might tell me that this is a craze, “it’s nothing, you fool, but the honeymoon phase!” But I don’t believe them, no, not for a day, I’ll run my fingers through her hair, and practice “Cafune”.
Palegg – anything and everything that you can put on a slice of bread
Norwegian: From pickles and olives to juicy tomatoes, from cheese and butter to turkey and dill, from beets and greens to slices of potato, your stomach together all these things would fill. So isn’t it grand that most anything around, from garlic to mustard to ham by the pound, if it fits on some bread, whether a carrot or an egg, then it fits in the category of “Palegg.”
Gufra – the amount of water that can be held in a hand
Arabic: Water without shape is strength and calm, at once so tranquil, and then a storm, it sustains our lives, but before long, can cut through cliffs, by making worn, the stone, the sand, in all different sizes, water itself is filled with surprises, what water fits in two hands, whether it drains or rises, is known as a “Gufra,” which comes in all different sizes!
Baku-Shan – a beautiful girl – as long as she is being viewed from behind
Japanese: People naive would have us believe there is no harm in words unkind, “sticks and stones can break my bones,” but words? Well words can break your mind. And so it is that in Japan, there is this word, named “Baku-shan.” It pinpoints a person possibly pretty, but from the front, she’s no real beauty.
Schlimazl – a chronically unlucky person
Yiddish: One morning she woke with a grin on her face, but quickly she stumbled and smashed her best vase, after smashing her vase, she fell straight from grace, and her fortune became but a bad aftertaste. For years on end she suffered bad luck, her house burned down and she crashed her truck, how painful, how sad, her fortune was tousled, and now and forever she’s known as a “Schlimazl!”
Duende – the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person
Spanish: There is a hidden power, deep within paint, deep within music and words and such, this power can cause a person to faint, simply by viewing the strokes of a brush, the Spanish call it “Duende,” that secret, warm flutter, that speeds up the heart, and makes muscles shudder. If art can evoke such feelings of awe, then art must be wired to some spiritual maw.
Age-Otori – to look worse after a haircut
Japanese: Today is my day, I’m free of all fear! In this world today I couldn’t have a care, my body is healthy, my conscience is clear, I’ll start this day off by cutting my hair! First snip the sideburns, those scissors are fangs, hungry for tangles, and fibers and bangs, wait, slow down, Mr. Barber, you’ll ruin my story! Oh great, it looks like this haircut is an “Age-Otori.”