Tag Archives: slang

”テンション” (tenshon), a tricky Japanese loanword

About two years ago, I wrote a post on a few confusing loanwords in Japanese, and then around a year ago about how they are so common in the language. I’ve heard many new loanwords since writing those articles, and have been able to guess their general meaning often just from knowing the corresponding English word. But once in… Read More »

Japanese word nuances: 美味しい (oishii) vs. 美味い (umai) used to describe food

I’m always amazed at the differences in nuances between words that seem so similar at first glance. Oftentimes these subtleties are not described in a dictionary anywhere, and the only way to really get them is to ask a native, or spend many years of your life immersed in that culture hoping you can acquire the linguistic sensibility… Read More »

Japanese expression “kuru kuru paa”

In today’s post, I’ll be introducing a phrase you’ll not likely to learn in a Japanese textbook or class. Japanese, like English, has it’s fill of words to describe someone being mentally slow. You’ve surely heard of “baka”, but there others such as “manuke”, “noroi”, “usuratonkachi”, or even “kyouki”. Each of these has their own… Read More »

A modern first person pronoun in Japanese

As it’s now the first of the month, in this post I’d like to focus on a first-person pronoun I’ve been hearing alot lately. While modern English has pretty much only “I”, Japanese has many of these words including “boku”, “watashi”, “atashi”, and even “washi” (and that’s just getting started). First person pronouns are called 一人称… Read More »

Japanese slang word: yabai (やばい)- when things get dangerous

In a previous post, I’ve discussed how Japanese has less curse words than languages like English. There are a few, however, which can pack quite a strong meaning, and in this post I’ll be talking about one such word – “yabai”. “yabai” originally means “dangerous” (equivalent to Japanese “abunai”) or a bad situation. 警察はやばい仕事です。 Police officer is a… Read More »

Useful Japanese slang word: 微妙 (bimyou)

Japanese is filled with many slang terms and there are entire dictionaries documenting these, so if you search you can quickly fill up on hundreds of slang words. So I typically don’t focus an entire post on a slang term unless I hear/use it frequently enough to warrant such a treatment. The word 微妙 is… Read More »

Japanese phrase ender し (shi)

It’s time for one of those posts which I rarely do – one where I focus on a single word. This time not only is it a single word, but a single character and single sound. “し” can mean everything from poetry (詩) to death (死), but in this case I’m referring to neither. Rather… Read More »

Expressing strong feelings in Japanese, a language with less curse words

Once someone who was informally teaching me Japanese mentioned that in Japanese there are not that many strong curse words in everyday language. If you watch certain anime or dramas you might occasionally catch overdramatic words like “ちくしょ!” (negative expletive, literally ‘beast’) or “きさま!” (second person pronoun used as an insult)  but those are very… Read More »

Common Japanese abbreviations [Intermediate / Advanced]

In this post I’ve decided to list a few of the commonly used colloquial abbreviations and transformations in Japanese. Keep in mind that many of these are slang/informal (くだけた言い方)and would typically only be used in conversation with someone you are close to, or very informal writing like a blog. This list isn’t complete and I’m… Read More »