Lee's Lexicon

  • This week I'm back on Japanese for a bit. Kaizen, if you want to get technical about it, mostly refers to a business philosophy but I'm using it to suit my own purposes here: it means continuous improvement. 

  • I'm going to cheat a little bit this week - it's not really an all that difficult to translate word, but it is one that is...close to my heart, I suppose. Morgenstern is possibly a word some of you will be familiar with - it's also a last name, and a historical weapon, but it means 'morning star', referring to Venus (or sometimes another planet, but most commonly Venus), which for part of the year is very bright, and the last 'star' to fade from the sky in the morning.

  • I grew up, mostly, in the woods in North Georgia, and spent a lot of time running around those woods. I spent even more time in the woods when I was in college, working as a counselor at a summer camp.  When it's sunny, and in the summer when there are leaves, the sunlight filters down through the trees and creates cool dappled patterns on the ground, as well as making obvious beams that are, themselves, rather beautiful when you see them from just the right angle. 

  • I don't think I've done a French word yet (if I have and I'm misremembering... pretend I haven't?) Anyway. The word is élan (it's actually also the title of a song I like by a Finnish band called Nightwish) and it means...momentum, basically. Enthusiasm. The feeling that you get when you're passionate about something, that then drives you onward to continuing or finishing whatever that 'something' may be. 

  • We all have things -- hobbies, jobs, activities, that we put all of ourselves into. That we focus on to the point of exclusion, that, when they're complete, we find that we've left a bit of our soul behind in that project, however large or small it may have been. There's a Greek word that describes this: meraki. It's usually used in reference to art or cooking, but you can apply it to anything, really.