I'm writing a letter to my friend, and want to same something like:

"While writing this letter, the air is grey and smells strongly of smoke"
(discussing forest fires near my town).

I'm stuck on how to describe smell of the smoke. The best I have so far is:

手紙{てがみ} を かきながら、くうき は はいいろ そして かおり は とても けむい です。

It just doesn't sound right. How do I describe this strong smell of smoke with the air?

EDIT: Spell-o こうき → くうき


1 Answer 1


手紙{てがみ} を かきながら、こうき は はいいろ そして かおり は とても けむい です。

I think the structure of sentence you've prepared is good.

But, the word choice is a bit off. 香{かお}り is used for good smell, odor, aroma, etc., which is often used for girl's name.

However, this time you want to imply "bad smell". You should use 臭{にお}い for the stink, terrible smell and something like unpleasant one. And, 煙{けむ}い/煙{けむ}たい is perfect to describe the smell of the smoke. Maybe, you don't have to use におい for this sentence if the situation is clear.

Note that the same pronunciation, but different kanji : 匂{にお}い is neutral to describe for the smell.

「こうき」 should be 「くうき」 as @snailcar suggested. I am not so sure about what "the air is grey" is implying though, I imagine "the sky is grey". So, 空{そら}が灰色{はいいろ} should be what you want to say.

The clause : "While writing this letter," might be implying the contrast of the room inside where you are writing the letter and the outside of your room.

So, I suppose 手紙{てがみ}を書いていますが/書いているけれど should be more appropriate than 手紙{てがみ}をかきながら, which seems saying just things going on concurrently.

All in all,


  • 1
    OP, see also Difference between かおり and におい.
    – istrasci
    Nov 30, 2019 at 2:37
  • With "air is grey", I was describing the air outside yesterday. It was literally grey with smoke - like mist. The sky was still mostly blue though ;) Should I have written: そと で...?
    – Kingsley
    Nov 30, 2019 at 18:57
  • @Kingsley Yes. I think the readers can imagine 「そとははいいろ、そしてとてもけむたい」as "The air outside room is filled with smoke like fog" Dec 1, 2019 at 0:35

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