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Lesson Transcript

Naomi: Naomiです。
Yuuichi: Yuuichiです。
Jessi: Jessi here. Thanks for joining us for the special Japanese culture class lesson. So we have a special topic for this lesson. Naomi San, what will we be talking about?

Lesson focus

Naomi: 新語流行語大賞。 The new word and buzz word of the year of 2009.
Yuuichi: We did a similar lesson last year too.
Jessi: That’s right. Some of you might remember our Japanese culture class from last year. We talked about the buzz words for 2008.
Naomi: This time, we will talk about the buzz word for 2009.
Yuuichi: First, let’s explain what this is all about. Jessi さん、お願いします。
Jessi: Sure. So in December, every year in Japan, they announce the winners of the buzzwords of the year contest. It awards the words and phrases that do a good job of reflecting the state of society or sometimes just words that become popular, thanks to pop culture. It’s a pretty popular contest though, isn’t it?
Naomi: Umm…
Yuuichi: Yeah. Everyone wants to know what words are going to be selected.
Jessi: Yeah. They go over it on TV a lot both before and after the words have been chosen.
Naomi: I think it’s a great topic for discussion.
Yuuichi: はい。 If you talk about this with Japanese people, you will sound really up to date.
Jessi: Definitely. And what is this contest called again?
Naomi: 新語流行語大賞。新語 means new word, 流行語means buzzword.
Jessi: Right buzzword.
Naomi: 大賞 means grand prix.
Jessi: Okay and now, what you’ve all been waiting for, the buzzword of the year for 2009 is
Naomi: 政権交代
Jessi: 政権交代 a regime change.
Yuuichi: そうです。政権
Jessi: Regime, administration.
Yuuichi: 交代
Jessi: Change or switch. So basically this term reflects the big change that took place in Japanese politics this year. So let’s try and explain it. An election for the house of representatives was held at the end of August and the democratic party of Japan won by a landslide. This was a major event because they beat out the liberal democratic party that had been in power for over 50 years.
Naomi: そうなのよね。 For 50 years, that party stayed in power.
Jessi: Right. So this regime switch, this 政権交代 was a big thing and what do you think about this phrase being the buzzword of the year honestly.
Naomi: It’s like I am not sure about the definition of buzzword. 政権交代did appear in news a lot but not very popular word.
Jessi: Ah I kind of see what you are saying. It was used a lot but maybe not necessarily popular
Naomi: そうそうそう。
Jessi: Right. So I guess it makes a lot of sense to be chosen as a major word of 2009 but maybe not too exciting.
Naomi: そうね。
Jessi: Would you agree? And sometimes multiple words are chosen but this time it was only one word right?
Naomi: そうね。
Yuuichi: Yeah that’s right. So but there were 10 words that were nominated for the grand prix.
Jessi: Oh it might be interesting to go through some of those.
Naomi: そうね。
Jessi: What were some other phrases that were considered for the buzzword of the year prize?
Naomi: One of them was 草食男子
Jessi: Aha the herbivore boys, right?
Naomi: あー、難しい単語ね。草食 means
Jessi: Herbivore
Naomi: and 男子means
Jessi:Boy. So literally it does mean herbivore boys.
Naomi: そう。
Jessi: And what does that mean herbivore boy, I think if you are hearing this for the first time, it must sound really strange. So listeners, when you hear this phrase, what comes to mind?
Yuuichi: Well 草食男子are men who are very passive when it comes to relationships and wife. They don’t take any action in these areas.
Jessi: Ah so they are not the kind to go for the chase so to speak. The opposite would be someone who actively pursues someone they are interested in. The herbivore types just kind of sit back and chew grass.
Naomi: Chew grass!
Yuuichi: It’s also said that they like to stay at home and are interesting in cooking and cleaning.
Jessi: Umm interesting.
Naomi: ね。 The opposite type is referred as 肉食男子
Jessi: Carnivore boys. So they go after what they want. I guess you could imagine like a lion going after its prey, right.
Naomi: So that was one of the nominations. Another newly coined term from this year was ファストファッション
Jessi: Fast fashion. It sounds like fashion that goes in and out of style really quickly.
Yuuichi: That’s actually part of it. Fast fashion is trendy but also very cheap.
Naomi: The phrase fast fashion actually comes from the phrase fast food because fast food is cheap and quick.
Jessi: So it’s reasonably priced trendy fashion.
Naomi: そうそうそう。 At first, fast fashion was all about Japanese brands such as ユニクロ、しまむら、あとはGUとか。 but then foreign brands like H&M, Zara and Forever 21 opened in Japan and started fast fashion wall.
Yuuichi: They are mostly in Harajuku in Tokyo.
Jessi: Umm and all in the same area of Harajuku too, right?
Naomi: そうそうそう。
Jessi: Some of the clothes are really cheap though, I was shocked. You can find some really good deals there.
Naomi: そうね。 It’s worth checking them out if you are in Harajuku.
Jessi: Just don’t go to a store on its opening day. You might be waiting for hours.
Yuuichi: Yeah that’s true. So whenever a new fast fashion shop opens up, the lines are super long.
Jessi: So by the way, are there any words on the top 10 list for 2009 that you liked or were interested in Naomiさん or Yuuichiさん。
Naomi: Umm…Not really but I am interested in the word 草食男子 and 肉食男子.
Jessi: Hah!
Yuuichi: That’s an interesting word yeah.
Naomi: Yuuichiさんは? How about you Yuuichi san, are you 肉食系男子 or 草食系男子?
Yuuichi: Well, wow, it’s hard to tell. I am kind of both.
Jessi: Ah!
Yuuichi: Yeah so Naomi Sensei, which do you prefer like 肉食男子 or 草食男子?
Naomi: A little bit of both.
Jessi: Yeah I think maybe if you are too much on one side, it’s a little too much. Maybe right in the middle would be good.
Naomi: そうですね。 Right.
Jessi: So what did you think of the winning buzzword and the nominated words we talked about. We want to hear what you think about them?


Naomi: Thanks for listening everyone. Until next time, じゃまた。
Yuuichi: さよなら。


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JapanesePod101.com Verified
January 17th, 2010 at 06:30 PM
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Hi mina-san! What did you think of the Buzzword of the Year for 2009? Where there any words that interested you? :mrgreen: You can find the full Top 10 list here: http://singo.jiyu.co.jp/

February 23rd, 2011 at 11:48 AM
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are you guys doing one for 2010?

February 19th, 2011 at 12:29 PM
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Hey guys!

I thought that was a great lesson today!

Covering these buzz words is a great idea!

It's always difficult for me to understand Japanese politics.

I never talked about Seiken kōtai (政権交代) with a Japanese person.

I will be sure to use this word now to try to spark up some interesting conversation!

Thanks for a great lesson this week!

March 25th, 2010 at 10:55 AM
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"Herbivore Boy" does sound like a name for a band!!

I know there are many "interpretations" for the word "Herbivore boys", but my definition is they're passive or shy when it comes to the relationship with girls they like.

Boys inclined to manga or games don't necessarily mean "herbivore boys" I guess.

At convenience stores, there are magazine racks and people(mostly men) stop by and read magazines just to kill time. I'd say it's quite normal in Japan.

I think in Japan(especially in Tokyo), people don't speak to strangers unless they're very drunk. So I'm always surprised when my foreign friends start speaking to strangers on the street in Japan.:wink:

March 24th, 2010 at 07:11 PM
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When I first heard the word Herbivore Boy, I thought it was a Rock Group. From my trips to Japan, I find it so interesting that more young men are apt to read Manga and not out talking to real women. Whenever I stop by a Circle K or Lawson's to get snacks, I can barely get through the door due to all of the young men at the magazine rack. Are herbivore boys more inclined to read books about girls rather than talk to them? I know that if I am out at a restaurant and speak to a young woman that many are shocked but pleasantly surprised that I am not shy and quiet. Why is it that?

February 2nd, 2010 at 04:00 PM
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Thank you for your nice comments! We're going to do it next year too! :wink:

garden gal-san,

Thank you for sharing your great experience!:smile:

garden gal
February 2nd, 2010 at 01:02 PM
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i was watching a Japanese tv show, when a character used a word to describe a sensitive guy and i yelped, hey i know that word! cause i learned it here, it was soushokudanshi! ... lol .... thanks for adding to my fun ...

January 19th, 2010 at 03:25 PM
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wow... i've been waiting for 1 whole year for cultural classes to be revived... thanks so much for the lesson~! i always feel that japanesepod101 is a step ahead against all other japanese language learning material because you cover cultural stuff... i hope cultural class will continue!

January 19th, 2010 at 02:28 PM
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The counterpart of “soushokudanshi” is "nikushoku danshi." :mrgreen:

It's fun to know the meaning of such interesting words and share it with your friends, isn't it? :wink:

January 19th, 2010 at 12:20 PM
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It's impressive how there are single words in japanese wich could be translated only using a long sentence to explain what the term means.

That way I found really interesting the word "soushokudanshi" and its counterpart (wich I'm not sure how it is spelled).

January 19th, 2010 at 09:11 AM
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I believe "fast fashion" counts as a new phrase because it's a phrase that was newly coined to describe the new trend of cheap, trendy fashions. It may use English words, but this phrase didn't originally exist in English (a new example of wasei-eigo, I suppose :smile: )