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'Arafo,' 'gu' voted most popular words for 2008

36 Comments

Actress Yuki Amami and comedian Harumi Edo took out the top prizes at the 2008 U-CAN Awards for newly coined words and words in vogue. Amami was attributed with the buzzword “arafo,” which refers to women around their 40s, while Edo was picked for her “gu” said with thumbs up.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s “Not like you,” which he said to a reporter at the press conference held to announce his resignation, made the top 10 but Fukuda declined to accept the award and did not attend the event. His comment was read out on stage, which said: “I’m honored but I will refrain from accepting the award.”

Olympic softball pitcher Yukiko Ueno received an award for “Ueno 413,” a reference to her 413 pitches in three games over two days which saw Japan win its first gold medal in softball.

Also in the top 10 were “izakaya taxi” - a phrase which became popular after hundreds of government officials admitted to receiving beer and other benefits by taxi drivers keen to pick up their fares; “kanikosen” - a novel about poor working conditions in the 1930s but which sold well in 2008 in its reprinted edition; “gerira gou” or guerrilla rain, in reference to the high number of sudden storms this summer; “kokikoreisha” – those aged 75 or older who now account for around 10% of the population; “nabakari kanrishoku” – staff not compensated for overtime due to their “manager” status; and “maizokin” – a reference to the unused pile of government reserve funds and surpluses.

Amami, 41, who starred in TBS drama “Around 40” shown earlier this year, said at the ceremony: “Women around my age have lacked confidence, but we should be more bold. If women are happy the world is beautiful.”

© Wire reports

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.


36 Comments
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What on earth does "gu" mean? Sorry. Don`t watch much TV here. I hope this is not just the bastardization of "good".

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Harumi Edo needs putting down, seriously. I cringe everytime I see her ugly mug, with THAT expression. Only in Japan can a person be famous and appear in ads and TV shows because of a shite and unfunny one liner.

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Meiwaku, if she says 'gu' with her thumbs up what else can it be?

I wonder if Ueno is not allowed to wear a dress and if she can't have long hair just because she plays softball.

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How pathetic is this?

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These selections say more about Japan than any of us "J-bashers" could hope for. One, "arafo" is in vogue because more and more ladies are hitting their mid-life crisis, and realizing that being married to a slave-to-his-job husband and making cute bento boxes for their 1.3 children isn't all they hoped for in life. And, "gu" is simply a non-word -- just a sound associated with a silly face and gesture made by the latest fad talent. This is a country in serious denial of its real problems/issues and heading south fast.

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Well done Japan in voting a word "gu" with no meaning as being the most popular of 2008.

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Shows the intelligence level of the average veiwer...

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"What on earth does "gu" mean? Sorry. Don`t watch much TV here. I hope this is not just the bastardization of "good"".

I think you'll find it is a combination of two things, one is that it a play on good/gu and it gu itself is just another part of the alphabet (ku/gu).

The Japanese certainly do seem to have a penchant for these people who have only one gag they can do, over and over and over and over again. And the funny thing is that population here seems to enjoy it, no matter how often they hear the same stuff.

Every language borrows from others to greater or lesser extents. However, the Japanese they take it to extremes. I've talked to many people here over the years that were astonished to hear the words that they blurted out weren't English after all. I'm sure someone on JT could write a book about it.

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Best wordist?

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Gu is indeed a bastardization of the word good. Apparently Edo's English teacher used to say good after every phrase, including the thumbs up. She took it to it's logical Japanese conclusion.

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What on earth does "gu" mean? Sorry. Don`t watch much TV here. I hope this is not just the bastardization of "good"

It means that after about 10 years of studying English, Edo can only express half a word. On the other hand, my mother-in-law (who also can't speak English) thinks Edo's the funniest thing since big plastic hammers whacking people on the head.

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Bit disappointed for not selecting Aso's "nantonaku"

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She invented "gu"? Good grief. I am going to be an inventor too.

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"open za price" (or these days fill in the blank) didn`t make it??? i am ever so sad.

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The whole list is here:

http://www.pinktentacle.com/2008/11/top-60-popular-japanese-words-phrases-of-2008/

Great for reberu-appingu your j-pop cultural literacy without having to numb your mind with hours of inane Japanese TV.

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Can someone explains "afaro"?? Never heard of it.

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Play with that (arafo, not afaro) and you get 'around forty' is my guess....

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Around forty is gairaigo-ed into araundo footi...abbreviate that and you get arafo. There's been the subsequent use of the term arasa (around thirty) as well.

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I, too ,was scratching my head wondering what arafo meant. Good god,

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why not 'natonaku'?

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sorry some14some, I just noticed you already said that

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this is a very good thing, to pick the best catchphrases of the year. Arafo I think is used for single women around 40, who decided to work instead of getting married. I told a woman that once and she said I was disrespectful. For women that take good care of themselves, around 40 is their best age.

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At least "Arafo" is slightly clever. But "gu"!? How bad can it get?! daisan. I just didn`t think it could be that stupid and win.

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Yes, i think herefornow has the complete opposite meaning of "arafo." It is for woman in their 40s that have no family, no fertility, a crappy job and have nothing to look forward to besides eating out with their loser friends at the newest restaurant on their only day off.

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larquero and proxy -- thanks for setting me straight. I feel much better for Japan now -- knowing that these are loser unmarried ladies, rather than depressed married ones.

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I don't know where you hang out herefornow, but the woman I know in their 40s with a family are very satisfied with their lot but the woman in their 40s that never got married are rather miserable.

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I hate that 'gu' woman with a deep and abiding passion. Not funny, just annoying. Even more irritating and talentless than most other 'talent' you see on J TV.

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...and MacArthur was criticized for calling the Japanese "a nation of 12-year olds".

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...and MacArthur was criticized for calling the Japanese "a nation of 12-year olds".

Guuu!

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proxy, you nail head-hitter.

I don't know where you hang out herefornow, but the woman I know in their 40s with a family are very satisfied with their lot but the woman in their 40s that never got married are rather miserable.

this is just further evolution of the meaning for "loser dog", popular a couple of years back. As I recall, it was a term for those in their 30's who suffered from the same condition. I guess we can expect a new term in about ten years time, along the lines of arafifu, or an equivalent.

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My wife's father has been saying gu, for about 8 years now, and he never won an award. It may be due to the fact that he is neither funny, nor tarented. Just my guess. Still, the foresight is uncanny...

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If you follow the link provided by Nessie you can find explanations of all 60 candidate expressions.

But I hadn't heard about the diet so I thought 'morning banana' must be something else.

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Saiban Inko (サイバンインコ): interesting use of a parrot mascot to promote the citizen jury system. Will jurors merely parrot what they are told by the prosecutors?
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(should have checked the preview - for some reason '45.' was removed)

45. Saiban Inko (サイバンインコ):
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I thought gu was ancient news by now, I remember years back in Tokyo you cudnt walk far with out young girls screaming cho beri beri guuu all over the damned place

Stonecold

yeah morning banana ha ha think they got that one wrong LOL

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I think it's kind of sad that most Japanese women only have two choices: get married and be chained to the stove or work and be single.

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