目の中に入れても痛くないほどかわいい！ (“め の なか に いれても いたくない ほど かわいい” – me no naka ni iretemo itakunai hodo kawaii – (lit.) “it’s so cute, it wouldn’t hurt even if I put it in my eye”)
The above phrase…ouch. No kidding that putting objects directly in your eye would hurt. But what if that character, baby or animal you saw at the zoo was so cute…that you would be left speechless and put them in your eye to absorb all the cuteness? (That’s something normal people do, right? Right?)
Supposedly, this expression can be matched with the phrase in English “Oh! It is so cute I could explode!” But with Japanese people, expressions would not be complete without a referral to the eyes. Personally, the eye is such a sensitive area – we think we would rather implode than being stuck in the eye with something like a baby. But when affections are all but won over, you have to wonder.
So instead of just saying かわいい (“kawaii!”)！ Perhaps next time you could say 目の中に入れても痛くないほどかわいい！ Give it a try!