Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Japanese Buzzwords

Yes, Japan still looms large in my psyche so this list is helpful. From Pink Tentacle, we bring you the 60 buzzwords for 2007.
5. It couldn’t be helped [shouganai - しょうがない] A Japanese minister used this to refer to the bombing. Two weeks ago, the pilot of Enola Gay, the plane that bombed Hiroshima, died and still maintained that he never lost a sleep over what happened. Is this a way to absolve him?
6. Cabinet of friends [o-tomodachi naikaku - お友達内閣]: “Cabinet of friends” was used to describe former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s first Cabinet. Similar to Erap's Midnight Cabinet.
9. Madame Sushi [マダム・スシ]: When giving a lecture during a visit to Washington, former defense minister Yuriko Koike said to the audience: “Some people call me the ‘Japanese Rice’ after Madame Secretary Rice. Why don’t you call me ‘Madame Sushi’?” In Japan, ‘rice’ means ’sushi.
18: Kawaigari [kawaigari - かわいがり]: Kawaigari usually means to “cherish” or “take under one’s wing,” but in the world of sumo it refers to the tradition of severe “training” given to rookie wrestlers at sumo stables. At the Tokitsukaze sumo stable, 17-year-old rookie Takashi Saito died after he was beaten with a metal bat as part of his kawaigari.
21. Sonna no kankei nee [そんなの関係ねぇ]: Sonna no kankei nee (”It doesn’t matter!”) is the catchphrase from comedian Yoshio Kojima’s wildly famous routine. Thanks to YouTube, Kojima’s popularity has spread quickly across the globe.
22. Oppappi
[オッパッピー]: This is the other famous line from Kojima’s routine, which is apparently an abbreviation of “Ocean Pacific Peace.”
28. Bottom-biting bug [oshiri kajiri mushi - おしりかじり虫]: Oshiri Kajiri Mushi (”Bottom Biting Bug”), the popular song about a dancing bug that likes to bite people on the butt, became a huge hit on Minna No Uta, a daily NHK program featuring original animated videos for family-oriented songs. Oshiri Kajiri Mushi became the featured dance number at this year’s school athletic meets, cultural festivals and other events nationwide.
30. Dried-fish woman [himono onna - 干物女]: Himono onna (”dried-fish woman”) is an expression used in the movie Hotaru No Hikari to describe the main character, a woman in her 20s who has renounced the pursuit of romance. She spends her evenings reading manga and drinking at home alone, and she spends her weekends lazing around in bed. She’s a dried-fish woman. Akin to the APO hit song, "Tuyo na'ng damdamin" with "tuyo" meaning "dry" or "dried fish."
32. The power of insensitivity [donkanryoku - 鈍感力]: Made popular by Donkanryoku(The Power of Insensitivity), a best-selling book written by popular novelist Junichi Watanabe, this expression means something like “thick skin” and refers to the ability to live in a relaxed manner without getting worked up over the little things. In Philippines, that is President Arroyo's culture of impunity regarding the killing of journalists and NGO workers.
33. Akachan post [赤ちゃんポスト]: Akachan post (”baby post”) refers to the controversial drop box for unwanted babies set up at a hospital in Kumamoto this year, which is designed to provide parents a safe and anonymous way to abandon their babies. Similar baby hatches have been set up in the past, including one at a foster home in Japan’s Gunma prefecture that was used from 1986 to 1991.
39. Monster parents [モンスターペアレント]: The term “monster parents” refers to Japan’s growing ranks of annoying parents who make extravagant and unreasonable demands of their children’s schools.
40. Dark website
[yami site - 闇サイト]: Yami sites (”dark websites”) are online networking sites where people can take out hit contracts on others, make illegal transactions (drugs, fake bank accounts, hacked cellphones, prostitution, etc.), and meet suicide partners. Japan has seen a recent rise in the number of murders arranged through these web-based hotbeds of criminal activity.
41. Net cafe refugees
[net cafe nanmin - ネットカフェ難民]: “Net cafe refugees” is an expression used by the Japanese media to refer to the growing number of day laborers who spend their nights in 24-hour internet cafe booths. The Japan Cafe Complex Association (JCCA) opposes the media’s use of the word “refugee” to describe these important customers. A government survey this year estimates there are about 5,400 net cafe refugees in Japan.
46. China shock/China-free [チャイナショック/チャイナフリー]: “China shock” refers to the impact felt in world markets after the Shanghai Composite Index took a steep plunge in February. “China-free,” a phrase that grew in popularity after a string of Chinese products (toothpaste, toys, etc.) were found to contain hazardous materials, refers to products not made in China.
51. Motepuyo [もてぷよ]: Motepuyo, a term that means something like “chubby cute,” describes women who are plump, small in stature, and cute. With a fine line between motepuyo and chubby, some say the only difference is whether or not a woman has a cute face.

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