Posted by: yoko | January 5, 2005

Words From Childhood 3.1

Today’s word: nakimushi

This is a compound word. Naki- comes from the verb naku, meaning “to cry”; mushi means “insect.” Put together, this word means “crybaby.”

I got teased a lot for crying when I was a kid. I have no idea how it started. At that age, I cried mostly when I was angry or frustrated, not when I was sad, so the teasing just made me cry harder. The neighborhood kids used to chant, “Crybaby, crybaby, wipe your dirty eyes, baby,” which would automatically bring tears to my eyes, and nothing I said or did would make them stop.

Unfortunately, when I went home, my parents were unsympathetic. They would call me nakimushi and I would often storm to my room after all the teasing, angry at everyone.

When I got older, I stopped crying altogether. However, my anger manifested itself in other ways. It took me a couple decades before I could actually cry when I was happy or sad.



  1. Thank you for the childhood words – I studied Japanese in high school and of course these are the kinds of things we never would have learned. Would I say “Taihen” to your story? I’m rusty.

  2. Hi Christina!

    Given that I’m relating to an event that happened in the past, you could say “taihen deshita!” Or probably better, “kawaisou deshita!” That word is another post in itself here.

    Thanks for the sentiments, though. Hey– it occurs to me that we have a lot in common….

  3. You know, I still cry on occasion when I get really really mad. It’s not a good thing, because people often try to comfort you, thinking you’re sad, and that’s really the last thing you want when you’re that mad.

  4. Prima, I still do it too. The tears are different from sad-crying when I’m mad– hot and blinding. And yeah, I hate being comforted if I’m that angry.


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