Friday, April 30, 2010


necchurippu, "enthusiasm-tulip".

100430This is a name for a TV program character. The program is still very new, thus this character is far from well known. As a such, this word never existed by now, and it is an artificial product. Here, the way of the creation is rather interesting. The keyword for the program is 熱中 (ねっちゅう), enthusiasm. Then, a popular flower related to this sound is チューリップ, tulip. Here these two words jointed together in a way that the second half of the first word became the first half of the second word. Smart.

For an audience, the above structure may not be clear at the first moment, but there is little doubt that most Japanese speakers understand it easily. The longer of the moment for one to get the answer, the stronger impact that he/she may receive.


Thursday, April 29, 2010


furi- pe-pa-, "free paper".

100429In today's classroom, a group of students presented their preliminary research on Japanese marking, and in a show-and-tell style, they brought in a number of items that they collected from Japan, including free newspaper and magazines. These are under the category of free publications, or フリーペーパー, a "fake" English term invented in Japan.

One character of today's katakana words in Japanese is to indicate a new concept, and present a tone which is foreien. However in this case, unexpectedly it is in fact a good challege for a English speaker to understand it and it may take a moment to figure out what does it exactly means.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


issei me-ru, "together-mail".

This word appeard on a title from today's newspaper. It never came to my knowledge before, however it is easy to understand: an e-mail being sent to multi receivers at the same time. It took me some time to find out its English equivalence, with a help, I came to the word "mass email". On the other hand, it is obvious that the newpaper artical writer does not believe that this word may be fully understood by all readers, thus in the article, this was carefully expressed in a longer statement, "一斉にメールを...".

We need new words to describe new phenomena. Keep that in mind, it is not hard to find many interesting examples, and this word is one of them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


koikatsu, "love-activity".

100427These days, 婚活(こんかつ) has become a popular word, reffering various arrangements and activities for finding one's partner to marry with. Because of that, 恋活 has been created as a further extension. Here, instead of finding one to build a family, this term indicates activities to find her boyfriend or his girlfriend. It can be considered as an earlier stage for a marriage, and the people involved here are natuarlly much younger and innocent.

However, while making a boyfriend /girlfriend has become a designed task, somehow is has run away from the original and fundamental meaning of 恋. Even more, one may want to argue that love and arranged activities are two different type of things, there is little sense to mix these two together.


Monday, April 26, 2010


100426 sumoggu, "smog".

This word appeared on today's NHK news. It was not used alone, but came with a unique combination, 光化学(こうかがく)スモッグ. It is a very new word to me, and dictionaries tell me that this a translation to the term "photochemical smog", a type of pollution reported from some 60 years ago, and now became to occur in Japan. Obviously it is a new environmental challenge to people today, and it may have to involve a great effort for international cooperation to overcome it in the future.

Come to the language, this is certainly a easy term to people who understand English. It is such a short word, and the pronunciations both are very similar. However, we certainly can not expect that all Japanese natives have such knowledge. As for the concept of smog, we have wonderful expressions in Japanese, including 霧(きり) or 煙霧(えんむ). What is the point to introduce a new term here to confuse us?

Sunday, April 25, 2010


yasu-kawa, "cheap-cute". It is a short expression of 安くて、可愛い.

This word appeared on 日本産経新聞 (Oct 10, 2009). It is reported that this is a new trend for the youth, as under the current global economic difficulties, they no longer seek for spending a great amount of money for clothes. As an example, there is a color photo of a young boy waering a pair of boots which costs him some $1500, and all the rest clothes are all in the rang of $10 or $20. Accordingly this is a typical case of 一点豪華, or "one item only luxurious".

I have to say that it is beyond my knowledge. To my understanding, personal characters such as cuteness or kindness and a price tag for clothing belong to totally different categories. It never came cross my mind to apply money to meagure personality. After all, it is hard to imagine an "expensive cuteness" in the first place.