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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。