Janglish for architects

Janglish for architects

How could you say or explain these things to British or American people?


air con


apaato/ apart


baby bed

bed town



culture centre

dump car

dust box

dining kitchen


(hotel) front

game centre

Hello Work


live house

living kitchen

log house

model house/ model room

one room mansion

roof balcony

(alumi) sasshu

sharp pen

show window

system kitchen

unit bath



What are the differences in meaning between Japanese and British or American English?






















Japlish answer key for teachers

air con (ea kon, short for air conditioner) – a machine that both cools and heats air, so different from a “cooler”

alumi (arumi) – short for aluminium

apart (apaato, short for apartment) – wooden two story block of flats, as opposed to a “mansion”

baby bed (beibi beddo) – cot

barracks (barakku) – decrepit buildings

bed town (beddo taun) – commuter town

blind (buraindo) – shutters

buil (biru – short for building) – office building (not buildings more generally, which is tatemono)

bungalow (bangaroo) – cabin

centi (senchi) – short for centimetre

cloak (kurooku) – cloakroom, not a cape

cock (kokku) – tap for water or gas

concours (konkooru- from French) – competition

consent (konsento) – electric socket, never used with the meaning of giving consent

cooler (kuura) – an air conditioner that only cools the air and doesn’t heat, so different from “air con”

corner (koona) – section of shop or magazine, as in “cash corner” (place with ATMs)

culture centre (karucha sentaa) – cultural centre, e.g. local place for adult education

depart (depaato) – short for department store, and the full expression is never used. Not used for departments of a company.

dining kitchen (dainingu kitchin) – a combined kitchen and dining room (usually a sign of a small flat rather than of modern open plan design)

driveway (doraibuuei) – highway/ speedway

dump car (dampu kaa) – dump truck

dust box (dasuto bokkusu) – trash can/ bin

echo (eko) – the acoustics of a space
flooring (furooringu) – wooden flooring

foundation (faundeishon) – make up only, not building etc.

front (furonto) –hotel reception/ front desk

game centre (geimu sentaa) – amusement arcade/ video arcade

gird (gaado) – girder bridge

gom (gomu, from Dutch) – rubber and rubber band

health centre (herusu sentaa) – recreation centre, rather than a clinic

Hello Work (hero waaku) – the official and most commonly used name for government job centres

interphone (intaahon) – intercom

kilo (kiiro) – short for both kilometre and kilogramme

kiosk (kiyosuku) – kiosk/ station shop (i.e. also something you can walk into)

knob (nobu) – any kind of door handle, not just a circular one

konbinat (konbinaato – from Russian) – industrial complex

kraan (karan – from Dutch) – tap

lift (rifuto) – only for cargo, giving elevator (for passengers) and lift two different meanings in Japanese

live house (raibu hausu) – a kind of live music venue

living (ribingu) – short for living room

living kitchen (ribingu kitchin) – open plan living room/ kitchen

log house (rogu hausu) – log cabin

mansion – a slightly higher class of concrete apartment block, so not a large house

milli (miri) – short for both millimetre and milligrams

office buil (ofisu biru) – office building, often shortened to ‘biru’, as this only refers to office buildings in Japanese (the Japanese word tatemono being more general)

one room mansion (wan ruumu manshon) – studio apartment (manshon being an apartment building)

pension (penshon) – a Western-style minshuku, meaning basically a B&B

reception (resepushon) – formal dinner, not desk you see when you enter (that’s “uketsuke” for offices and “front” for hotels)


reform (rifoomu) – alteration or repair, e.g. of building or clothes

renewal (rinyuuaru) – store renovations

ropeway – cable car (in Japanese “cable car” is only used for one that runs on rails)

scramble (sukuaramburu) – a crossing where pedestrians can cross from all sides of a crossroads at the same time, like the famous one outside Shibuya station

sharp pen (shaa pen, short for sharp pencil) – mechanical pencil/ automatic pencil

skate rink (sukeeto rinku) – skating rink

skyline (sukairain) – scenic mountain highway

sofa (sofaa) – sofa and armchair

stove (sutoobu) – (gas, oil or electric) heater/ fire, so not connected to cooking

suite room (suito rummu) – a hotel suite

super (suupa) – short for supermarket (the longer form exists but is rarely used)
tenant (tenant) – for rent (often seen on signs in windows)

terrace (terasu) – terrace/ balcony, i.e. often smaller than a terrace would be in English

toile (toire) – toilet (note the missing t sound)

trailer house (toreeraa hausu) – trailer/ mobile home

trunk room (toranku ruumu) – storage room, e.g. a place where you pay to put things into storage

unit bath (yunitto basu) – modular bathroom/ prefabricated all in one bathroom

veranda (beranda) – usually more like a balcony

washlet (uoshuretto, from wash + toilet) – combined toilet and bidet


PDF version for easy saving and printing: Janglish for architects

Leave a comment (link optional and email never shared)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.