(Roughly) Daily

Language of the Rising Sun…

From Pink Tentacle:

Publisher Jiyu Kokuminsha has released its annual list of the 60 most popular Japanese expressions of the year. The words and phrases (listed below in no particular order) reflect some of the major trends, events, and people that captured the attention of the Japanese mass media in 2009. Included are plenty of references to Japan’s recent political shake-up, the ailing economy, and the blurring of traditional gender roles. From this list, a panel of judges will select the 10 trendiest Japanese expressions of 2009 and announce the results in early December.

For example:

The Alien [uch_jin]: Because of his quirky hairstyle, prominent eyes, and eccentric manner, Prime Minister Hatoyama is known by his supporters and opposition as “The Alien,” a nickname his wife says he earned because of how different he is from old-style Japanese politicians.

The new Prime Minister on a cookie box

“…to Venus in a UFO” [UFO de kinsei ni]: Colorful first lady Miyuki Hatoyama drew worldwide attention with her claim to have traveled to Venus aboard a UFO. Her account first appeared in a book entitled “Most Bizarre Things I’ve Encountered,” which features interviews with prominent people about unusual experiences. “While my body was sleeping, I think my spirit flew on a triangular-shaped UFO to Venus,” she said. “It was an extremely beautiful place and was very green.”

Herbivorous men [s_shoku danshi]: Coined in 2006 by author Maki Fukasawa, this term refers to an emerging breed of man whose passive nature stands in stark contrast to conventional notions of masculinity. Typically in his 20s or 30s, the herbivore doesn’t earn much money, spends little, takes a keen interest in fashion and his personal appearance, and does not aggressively pursue “flesh” (i.e. romance and sex). Friendly and home-oriented, he tends to favor cosmetics over deluxe cars and would rather eat sweets at home than treat his girlfriend to dinner at a fancy restaurant.

990-yen jeans: Fast Retailing, which operates the Uniqlo casual fashion chain, attracted attention in March when it began selling blue jeans for a surprisingly cheap 990 yen (about $11) at its g.u. stores. In addition to driving up sales at g.u., the bargain jeans touched off a denim price war as competitors slashed prices in response.

Explore further at Pink Tentacle.

As John Searle reminds us that we are what we say, we might toss a few grains of rice at Bobby Darin, crooner and teen heart-throb (the Zac Efron of his day, if you will), and Sandra Dee, the last major star under exclusive contract to a movie studio; they were wed on this date in 1960.

Poster for the film on which the couple met (source: BobbyDarin.net)

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