2015 Words of the Year

by Kensatsukan Gaijin

明けましておめでとうございます! Happy New Year to everyone - it’s 2016, and the New Year brings opportunity and promise. Did you keep all of your resolutions?  If one of them was to learn more Japanese vocabulary, you better check your vocab list; 2015 brought several new words and phrases into the Japanese language.  


The biggest new phrase of the year was probably 爆買い (“Bakugai”) which means “explosive buying”, a phrase referring to tourists on a buying spree in Japan.  With the Yen at a historic low and wealthy Chinese and other foreign visitors, Japanese shop owners were stunned by foreign shoppers this year who spent record amounts on Japanese goods.  


There are also some slang or colloquial phrases that hit it big in 2015. To start with, you might hear someone say "わず (wazu)” - as in "たけしと寿司わず。おいしかった〜!!("I had sushi with Takeshi. It was delicious!”).  It’s just the English word “was”, used to replace "〜だった” or "〜でした”.  Another might be "とりま (torima)” - like, "とりま今日は眠いから帰るわ” ("Anyways…Today I'm going back home because I feel sleepy”).  If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s just a shortened version of “とりあえずまあ”


As you can see, popular phrases usually come from shortened versions of proper Japanese.  So, “秒で”, pronounced "byou de”, is an abbreviation meaning “in a second” ("どこでも秒で行く” - I’ll go on the spot!”).  Something is very difficult or miserable if it is "つらたん”, which comes from “つらい”.


If you don’t like this list, you might say that you are “おこ”, which comes from “おこる”.  It means angry, but usually in a funny or joking way.  Just don’t “ディスる”.   ディスったらダメだよ!  Can you get was it means?  (Hint - what is the English slang root?)