I felt like doing a little post on a word that often gets used in tv shows that I find hard to translate.
I thought it might interest some people?
So the word is "Shibui" 渋い
It has several meanings such as:
-Sour/bitter/ astringent taste
-Glum, sullen, sour (as in 'sour feeling' not taste)
There's a few other ways it can be used, but the meaning that always troubles me is something else.
The definitions I've given sort of seem like they'd be used negatively (well, the 'glum' and 'sullen' meanings anyway) but it can also be used to refer to something in a good way.
It's sort of hard to explain as I don't think there's a word for it in English......So I'll show you some pictures of people who will be considered "shibui".
It's kind of like a smooth, mature kind of coolness.
Like a mature calmness of older adults....if that makes sense.
It's not only limited to descriptions of people though. It can be used to describe anything with that kind of sense really. A lot of old fashioned stuff would be considered as shibui, like record players, pottery or vintage items.
Clothes that are considered shibui would be stuff like suits, leather shoes and traditional Japanese kimono.
Usually shibui stuff would be dark coloured like black, brown or grey,
Some people might perceive shibui as and a tad dull or "old".
In the comments it was mention that "rugged" might be the closest word but...that's not really what it is. I realise that it's probably because I put up pics of rugged people. Another reason that the people I've posted are 'rugged' is because they're old. Most handsome old men would be the rugged type since there's not really any other way to be old and handsome....that I can think of. But rather than physical features it's more of their character or aura that it refers to. The main aspects are calmness, maturity.
Another example is drinking green tea, and writing poetry or something even when you're young or something. Some people might think that's cool, and that's when you say that's shibui in a good sense. Some people might just think that they're boring.
So yeahhh, it's a pretty vague kinda concept. From reading stuff on the internet, it seems that most Japanese people have trouble explaining what it is, especially into English.
I hope you were able to get a sense of what the word shibui is often used to refer to though.
I suppose it's kind of like being "dandy". But maybe a less posh version though.
I dunno. lol