Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Peter: Learn Japanese phrases your teacher will never teach you. Hi everyone!
Naomi: Welcome back to JapanesePod101.com
Peter: Okay, I’m telling you right now. This lesson is really fun.
Naomi: : Because we’ll go over some phrases that your teacher might not teach you.
Peter: Now, we don’t want you to get the wrong idea. You’re not gonna find any swear words or really bad words or anything like that here.
Naomi: Just some Japanese phrases that are just a little too slangy to be introduced in the regular lesson.
Peter: Now, These are words, though, that you’ll encounter a lot in Japanese.
Naomi: A lot. In Japan, you’d probably hear them every day.
Peter: They’re really that common.
Naomi: So, if you’re ready to learn some fun Japanese, let’s get started.
Peter: The first phrase we’ll go over is:
- Great, awesome = "sugoi"
Naomi: Sugoi!
Peter: Now, this means “awesome, great.” But I think one of the best translations is just “wow.”
Naomi: Sugoi!
Peter: You’ll hear this word all the time.
Naomi: Right. When people hear or see something interesting or unusual, usually the first reaction would be, sugoi!
Peter: Like, “Hey, Naomi-sensei, I just won the Lotto!”
Naomi: Sugoi!
Naomi: Just like that!
Peter: That’s all I get for winning the Lotto? Naomi-sensi, Come on, It would be a nice long one, like, a nice prolonged sugooooi!
Naomi: You’re right. Some people prolong the second syllable, "go", like: sugoooi!
Peter: And sometimes people even use it if there’s nothing really amazing about what they just heard.
Naomi: It just becomes a habit to say it.
Peter: So, You can tell by the tone of their voice. Naomi-sensei, I just won the lottery!
Naomi: Aa, sugoi.
Peter: So, if they don’t sound impressed, they probably aren’t.
Naomi: Right.
Peter: Next we have:
- Stupid, idiot, or fool = "Baka"
Peter: Now, be very careful who you say this to.
Naomi: Right.
Peter: In fact, it might be better to not use it at all, but it’s a good one to know anyway.
Depending on the situation and how it’s used, this word can come off as a strong insult or a playful joke.
Naomi: That’s right. It all depends on how the person uses it.
Peter: If you’re really angry and you call someone...
Naomi: "baka"
Peter: ...that’s pretty harsh. Now if you’re just joking around with your friend and you use it, it comes off as playful. Now, if you watch anime, this is something you’ll come across again and again.
Naomi: I agree.
Peter: Next we have:
- Lie = "uso"
Naomi: "Uso"
Peter: ...literally means “lie,” as in, “to tell a lie.” But when used as an exclamation like...
Naomi: "Uso!"
Peter: ...it’s pretty close to saying something like “No way!,” or “You’re kidding!”
Naomi: Right. Basically it’s used when you’re really surprised or shocked by something.
Peter: Like, you just can’t believe it.
Naomi: But in most cases, you don’t actually think that what the person is saying is a lie.
Peter: So if someone responds to something you say with "uso!" don’t worry, they’re not actually calling you a liar or anything like that. Okay, now on to some slang used by young people. Just note that all these phrases are very, very informal. So, you want to be a little careful when using them, although these phrases may fade out after some time because what young people are saying always is changing. But for now they should be good. So just be a little careful.
Naomi: The first one is..."cho"
Peter: This is a prefix you can attach to an adjective when you really want to emphasize it.
Naomi: like "cho baka".
Naomi: As we learned "baka" means stupid, so "cho baka" means something like “really stupid,” or “so foolish.
Peter: Complete idiot,” or.. it could get strong depending on if you’re using is playfully, or in a context where it could be interpreted strong. So, it’s kind of used like English “so,” kind of like “so stupid.”
Naomi: Or “super stupid.”
Peter: Yes. So that’s what this prefix "cho" does. Long vowel. "Cho".
Naomi: Another slangy word is "yabai".
Peter: Now, the literal meaning of
Naomi: "yabai"
Peter: ...is “risky” or “chancy,” but I think it’s strayed a bit away from its original meaning. "yabai" is interesting because it can be both good and bad.
Naomi: That’ true, it all depends on the context. So for example, if you say “That movie was "yabai",” it could mean that it was "yabai" in a good way, like it was really cool or something. Or, it could be "yabai" in a bad way, maybe acting was bad or something.
Peter: It’s hard to know unless the person expands on it more.
Naomi: "yabai" is also used as an exclamation.
Peter: Kind of like “Oh no!” or “Oh shoot!”
Naomi: Right. "Yabai!" If you’ve just realized something bad..
Peter: "Yabai!" I overslept! Or something like that.
Naomi: Yeah. That’s a "cho yabai" situation, isn’t it!?
Peter: Okay, next is
Naomi: "maji"
Peter: "Maji" is like "cho" in that it comes before words to emphasize them.
Naomi: You can combine it with the word we just learned and create "maji yabai", for example.
Peter: Yeah, that’s right. Whether it’s good or bad, we don’t know, but it’s pretty.. whatever way it is.
Naomi: Right. But "maji" is also used like "maji?" which is a slangy way to say “really?”
Peter: It’s based off the word "majime", which is “serious,” so its kind of like “seriously”?
Naomi: Sou desu ne. Right. “Are you serious?”
Peter: Interesting lesson! Okay, now we’re going to go over some words that are called:
Naomi: "Aizuchi".
Peter: "Aizuchi" are words that you say in response to someone who is talking to show that you are listening and understand what the person is saying. "Aizuchi" in Japanese are interesting because they are used really frequently. We have some equivalents in English such as “Uh huh,” “mm-hmm,” and “okay,” but we don’t use them nearly as much.
Naomi: Some people might use them after almost every sentence.
Peter: Saying nothing and just listening could be considered strange. So, what are some common "aizuchi"?
Naomi: If you agree with the person, you can say "sou sou".
Peter: Or even, "sou sou sou sou sou".
Naomi: That’s right. A lot of people use it over and over.
Peter: I remember it sounded funny at first, hearing all these "sou"s in a row, but I’m kind of used to hearing it.
Naomi: You could also use "un", as in "un un". This is used more to show that you’re just listening.
Peter: It’s kind of a metric of how long you’ve been in Japan. If you’re listening to someone speak and you start going "un un un", you’ve probably been here between 1-2 years. You start to subconsciously or unconsciously add in "aizuchi". Now, if you’re impressed by what someone says, you can say:
Naomi: "he~"
Peter: You can use use:
Naomi: "he~"
Peter: ...to show you’re impressed, or that you didn’t know something.
Naomi: It’s used together a lot with "sugoi", so you can get "he~ sugoi!".
Peter: You definitely hear that one a lot. There was even a popular quiz show that introduced interesting facts, and the panelists rated them on how interesting they were by pressing a "he~" button.
Naomi: I remember that show.
Peter: If you thought it was interesting, you would give it a lot of "he~"s.
Peter: So, overall what we introduced today is frequently used slang, but not appropriate for the classroom, and not appropriate for every situation. So be aware of them, but be cautious when using them, because using them in the wrong situation could create a couple of issues.
Naomi: Right.
Peter: At this stage, absorb, and recognize, and acknowledge that you know what’s going on.
Naomi: See you!