Provocation, provocative and provoke are frequently used terms in Western culture. I remember the first time I asked my wife what was the Japanese word for provocation, as I didn't remember hearing it or stumbling on it anywhere. She had to think about it for a while for it is not the kind of word that often pops up in Japanese language. Chouhatsu (’§”­) she finally blurted. Indeed I had never heard it before. Checking it again recently in the dictionary, I noticed that the first translation given was actually okoraseru (“{‚点‚é), which means "to make angry" (compare with okoru, "to get angry"). I didn't think that this was a good translation at all. In my eyes provocations are often used to get a reaction, but not necessarily of anger. I use provocations to make people think about things they wouldn't have normally thought about. That's from this kind of attitude that the expression 'thought-provoking' comes from, and it usually conveys a positive connotation. Another translation in my dictionary was shigeki suru, literally to stimulate. That is more neutral or positive than to make angry, but still misses the precise idea of provocation.

It is though this kind of words apparently missing from a language that we understand the true cultural differences between language groups. It also shows how much our attitude, and even character, relies on the language we speak.