Taken from Pink Tentacle:
Publisher Jiyu Kokuminsha has announced this year’s crop of nominees for Japanese buzzword of the year. The wide-ranging selection of 60 words and expressions — many of which come from the worlds of politics, sports and entertainment — were selected based on suggestions from the general public, and they provide an interesting look at some of the events, people and trends that had an impact on Japan in 2007.
A panel of judges will choose the year’s grand prize winner and top 10 buzzwords from these 60 nominees. The final results will be announced on December 3.
You can see the original announcement in Japanese here.
Below are my favorite buzzwords in no particular order:
Child-bearing machines [umu kikai – 産む機械]: Health minister Hakuo Yanagisawa sparked a controversy when he referred to women as “child-bearing machines” in a January speech about Japan’s declining birthrate. In reference to how Japan might reverse the population decline, he said: “The number of women aged between 15 and 50 is fixed. Because the number of child-bearing machines and devices is fixed, all we can ask for is for them to do their best per head.”
All I can say is, “Oh wow!” That is just so terrible that I don’t know what to say.
Some sort of regenerated water [nantoka kangensui – ナントカ還元水]: Former farm minister Matsuoka explained that some of the “office fees” were used to pay for the expensive tap water that everyone in his office drank. He referred to the water as “some sort of regenerated water.”
This one is absolutely hilarious. What is “some sort of regenerated water” supposed to mean anyway?!
Dondake~ [どんだけぇ～]: This catch-all exclamation of surprise/disbelief/reproach arose from the Shinjuku 2-chome gay community and was popularized by Ikko, a popular transvestite TV personality. Dondake~ can be used in a wide variety of situations, sort of like “Really?!” or “No way!” Usually said with a slight rising intonation and seasoned with whiny sarcasm.
I love this phrase a lot thanks to Lucky Star’s Konata who uses this phrase a lot.
Nothing really… [betsu ni… – 別に・・・]: Actress Erika Sawajiri made headlines and flustered fans when she appeared visibly angry alongside her co-stars at a promo event for “Closed Note” (her latest movie) on September 29. When the hostess of the event asked the sulky Sawajiri which scene was her favorite, Sawajiri spat a snippety, “None in particular” (toku ni nai desu), and when asked what she was thinking when she made a batch of cookies for the cast and crew during shooting, she hissed, “Nothing really” (betsu ni).
I remember reading about this online before and I thought to myself something along the lines of “what an dumb woman.”
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.
This was another interesting thing I read about online before. It’s controversial but if it keeps babies from being put in dumpsters, then I am all for it.
Tetsuko [鉄子]: The unhealthy obsession with trains has long been a predominantly male pursuit, but the numbers of female train otaku — known as “Tetsuko” — are on the rise.
An obligatory otaku term.
Disguised beef (disguised meat) [minchi gisou (gisou shokuniku)]: The Hokkaido-based Meat Hope Co. admitted to adding pork and chicken to its ground beef products to cut production costs.
This is another big thing in the news right now since its been discovered that many companies have been lying about the contents of there foods.
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.
More otaku terms. This is becoming a big problem as of late.
Kawayusu/Giza-kawayusu [カワユス／ギザカワユス]: Kawayusu and giza-kawayusu are words coined by idol and avid blogger Shoko Nakagawa (”Shokotan”). Kawayusu is a variation of kawaii desu (”cute”), while giza, which means “very,” is derived from “giga.”
Yet more otaku words from the girl who is famous for sticking her cat’s head in her mouth.
Mega- (giant meals) [O-gui (mega-____ ) – 大食い（メガ○○）]: Over the past year, a number of mega-sized meals and high-calorie food products have appeared on the market, such as cup ramen, pudding, ice cream and hamburgers. Some say this trend is a reaction against the recent health food boom, while others see it is as a sign of economic recovery.
Food fighter [フードファイター]: “Food fighters” are people with extraordinary eating skills that allow them to consume food in large quantities and/or at high speeds. Like athletes, food fighters train everyday in order to win eating competitions. The popularity of gluttonous TV celebrity (and freak of nature) Gal Sone has helped fuel this boom.