Japanese Urban Dictionary

Seeing as I’m kicking in Japan at the moment, I figured you might like to know about some of the terminology that I may use in future posts.

Otaku (おたく/オタク)

The geeks of Japan, but more extreme. Much more extreme. I often joke to my wife that I’m otaku because I’m, well, a big geek but she says that I don’t even come close to their definition of it. Japanese people are renowned for their ability to (quote the Last Samurai) “devote themselves to the perfection of whatever their pursue” and if you pursue animi, manga and jail-bait dressed in a maid’s outfit then you’re likely to be an otaku.

Hikikomori (ひきこもり)

Otaku gone extreme, hikikomori are geeks who have become so obsessed they have withdrawn completely from society and never leave their homes, apparently even some having never left it in decades. It’s my ultimate ambition to become a MMORPG hikikomori.

Yanki (ヤンキー)

The delinquent of Japan, yanki’s are exactly what their name suggests – a Japanese person dressed to look like the Fonz, usually with light brown dyed hair. They often wear tight black jeans and a ’60s leather jacket and are famous for their rolling ‘Rs’. Gotta see it to believe it.

Cosplay (コスプレ)

Cosplay In Japan

Cosplay In Japan - DannyChoo.com

If you like to dress up as your favourite manga character and hang around subway stations on a regular occurrence then you’re probably into what’s known as cosplay. Fun loving and imaginative, cosplayers are also known for giving out free hugs.

Salaryman (サラリーマン)

A salaryman is basically every and any man who earns a salary, usually by working long hours in an office. And I’m not kidding about the long hours part. 12 – 13 hour days are generally expected without question as is a drinking binge after work with your boss. Nothing amuses me quite like seeing a group of drunk business men staggering around Akasaka at 11pm at night trying to find the subway home.

Office Lady (オーエル)

Always abbreviated simply to OL, office ladies are the equivalent to salarymen, except without the long hours part (they are usually allowed to finish work around 7pm) and the excessive drinking. Aside being incredibly homogeneous and xenophobic, Japan is also very chauvinistic and OLs are usally assigned to pink collar jobs. Trends are changing now though and women are starting to become accepted as “salarymen” if they so desire.

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  1. Nither Gamer says:

    “devote themselves to the perfection of whatever their pursue”

    I have got to see this some day. I’ imagine that they can bring nerd rage to a whole new level

  2. Longasc says:

    A blogging Hikikomori would be something quite hilarious! :)

  3. [...] with his permission. Of course, I was attracted to the all of the beautiful images of female cosplayers (he happens to have taken a lot of them) and thus this article was born. Sorry Brian if this [...]

  4. [...] The former just rolls off the gutteral better, while the latter sounds like a stammering hikikomori surrounded by pretty women who want his phone number.  Plus, gorp is [...]

  5. MysticBuddha says:

    What does mi-ha mean? Someone just asked me. Does it mean groupie?

  6. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

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