There is particular comfort in knowing that we are all alike in experiencing what life has in store for us. Of course, each of our individual realities is as unique as it could be, as we ourselves are very much the unique identity that defines each human being. We then share this trait of being special in our own way and while the lives we live can be so dramatically different and distinct from each other, we still explore a commonality of our human existence. There is pride in this belonging, but most important of all, the affirmation is an immense comfort, one that makes us cling to that hope that we believe will eventually hold us accountable as well.
However, one discovers not only comfort in this account of humanity. Some discoveries made along this universal path of walking, then common to all but the individuals still in the path of our manoeuvres, would also be amusing. Some of these experiences occur as something peculiar, but even in that feeling we are still innately safe in knowing that we are never alone in any of these. How sure we really are in such an experience of a universal essence may not always be very concrete at its dawn. That’s why it’s such a pleasant surprise when we come across something that perfectly entertains in this exact way of what we ourselves are embodying.
There are certain particularly convincing phrases and constructions that one is almost gratified to stumble upon by chance. The construction of such ‘intimacy’ occurs through different paths of understanding and appreciating the so casually recounted essence of something that we might have been practicing even in its consideration that it is not exactly the right thing to do. Of course, it’s the thrill of finding validation even in impropriety, a communal pride that takes charge of doing things everyone else does, some in a more ordinary context than our own. But there is also a certain beauty beneath this illuminating revelation: the allure language has in casting its universal reference even onto identities it isn’t expected to expand to.
Take, for example, the now widely popular states of being explained by feelings of Scandinavian excitement. Hygge, of course, is the most prominent of such expressions, and to be honest, a bit too stretched now. The welcoming spaces one finds oneself transcending due to this emergence of a universally appreciated concept neatly encompassed in the defined terms of an alphabet cannot be refuted, though in what it has given the world by experiencing even more intensely and yet very calming an emotion made more ‘real’ by the corresponding beginning of the aesthetic.
Exposing such a power that belonging arouses both as it happens and as something inexplicable and fostered by the lucidity of language would be a range of native terms and expressions and colloquial dictions that are gaining ground. Scandinavian narrative would continue to dominate, but novelties that otherwise have been native to one part of the world would also emerge from many other expanses. As beautiful and untranslatable words from different dialects and languages and speeches have emerged to become the talk of the town, what has been reinforced is the essential human yearning to explore familiar territories despite how physically foreign they may be.
What managed to pique our interest this time is something that might not exactly be the kind of free-dive into sentiment that a Danish hygge inspires. Nor is it intricately woven into the cultural fabric of a particular identity and therefore through which a whole feeling of national essence is filtered, such as the warm Swedish concept of fika. Instead, it is something more ‘trivial’ that Japanese irusu intends, even though the language itself is held in high esteem. Leaving aside such sophisticated considerations of what constitutes a very vital component of human identity, universally even when individually, it would be the plain truth conveyed through this composition of Japanese characters that paints irusu in a context of cosmopolitanism.
Displaying the peculiarity of irusu by denoting that act of common prevalence that almost all of us have practiced once, somewhere or at least contemplated, even having to fight the temptation to give in and the ‘realism’ that this Japanese term harbors is undeniable. There is no equivalent in English, at least for irusu, that can be explained as the act of pretending that one is not at home when most of it is. The intent behind this admission of blatant falsehood can be anything depending on personal circumstances and current condition. But governing almost exclusively this world precedent set by everyone and presented as Japanese is the most banal of wishes to avoid ‘confrontation’ with an unwanted guest, an intruder.
This would not be offensive, at least to many of us who routinely practice irusu. And now that we know for sure that it’s also fairly commonplace in at least one other realm of shared human existence, it brings us a great deal of relief. Because the very fact that irusu is a word means that it is a culturally recognized construct, regardless of how it is viewed and reviewed. Iru means being and rusu means absence that conveys with any simplistic definition the general essence of the expression. And now that we have arrived at this epochal ‘consciousness’ made convenient to notice by its brevity in speech, surely we would not apologize even more for that uncivilized character that we had been timidly displaying all along.
Irusu might not be our own in terms of being this version of the ‘entity’, but the act surely is, and much more so than we simply practice. It’s not just the performance we put on in front of uninvited humans threatening to break into our homes. It is also a state of mind that we often fall into, of not wanting to respond to anything that characterizes life.
Even in its strictly popular or rather anti-popular facade, irusu also extends to the realm of not letting anyone or certain people into our lives. It might even be worth the scolding that follows, since humans of a not-so-human nature are particularly ignored in traditional ideas of what the world preaches. However, they may not be aware that it can be something that allows one to preserve their sanity so that they don’t ‘evolve’ into the kind of non-humans they make fun of. In this universalization of ‘ideals’, even when furthered through a clearly devised script of a given language, it remains the common aspirations of humanity that find expression and validation in all its imperfect and yet flawed humanness. excellent.