New slang

Where I’ll be this holiday? At home watching HBO’s Girls

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As the serious world of enterprise slows down at year end, I’m delighted to discover HBO’s Girls, a downwardly mobile Sex and the City set in Brooklyn. Think much much more unsatisfying sex, more existential angst, and many more Jewish characters.

The author, lead actress, and director Lena Dunham creates an often unsympathetic main character, who somehow manages to befriend a conservative girl, a bohemian girl, and a super painful virgin. But my secret pleasure is how she gave herself a disgusting boyfriend who is hot in a large nose and geeky fashion.

To share my mother’s characterization of this amazing talent: “I don’t like Lena Dunham, think she is a slob, painful to look at what she does with herself and how she wants/allows herself to be photographed.” I guess I agree with everything, except that I would delete the second word! I love it!

Is this what my college-age NYC nieces are watching? What is their review? I hope their parents, and frankly any parents, are *not* watching! And of course my husband has no interest since, as he says, “there are no zombies or werewolves.”

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Random Gay Tokyo life

Sublime and random Tokyo gay stories in August:

1. A gay Italian visitor to Tokyo is *shocked* at the sight of Japanese men using paper fans to cool themselves on trains and sidewalks. “In Italy, only women and fags dare use a fan.” There is nothing more satisfying than observing an Italian man surprised by another nation’s male effeminacy.

2. My new super-gay hairdresser (rare in a country where most are straight) has recently told me about his working the festival circuit with his yakuza friends carrying a portable shrine shoulder to shoulder and dressed in fundoshi (ritual male thongs), his earlier stint at a Ginza hair salon when he cut the hair of  minor royals, and advice about yankii and nudist beachs in Chiba.

A few years younger than this author, my new gay Japanese sensei is also a middle-aged competitive body builder, with distinct orange in his hair and skin tone. Did I mention that we met at Haguromo, the super-gay and sometimes yakuza-filled sento? How often can I get my short hair cut? He’s talented with hair and full of helpful stories and expressions.

3. I’ve heard that many Japanese prefer “small faces.” Just recently, a Japanese friend explained that Japanese distinguish between weak faces (うすい、薄い)and strong faces(こい、濃い). Previously I understand that these adjectives are applied to liquids like tea (literally, the concentration through quantity and steeping time) and even to food types (sort of like light and heavy).

Apparently with people, so-called weak faces have “fewer distinguishing features” or “fewer things sticking out.” Strong faces have deep set eyes, large noses, more prominent chins. This distinction is at once racial and yet pretends not to be.  I have a hard time grokking this, but will be more open to hearing about these immutable differences.

There’s a name for hot young dads: ikumen

This new word イクメン combine the slang ikemen, which means attractive man, with iku, which means child-raising. It is one of the many, many sub-categories of men I find very hot in Tokyo. Watching men whose main accessories are their toddlers inspires admiration and lust.

And, like every trend in Japan, it’s been fully commercialized, including a special section of Takashimaya department store’s website! For more 2010 new words, check out this Japan Times article.

NHK’s new cougar drama: Second Virgin

Yikes! I watched episode 2 of “Second Virgin,” one of the most atrociously named J-dramas ever. It’s on Tuesday evenings at 10 pm. Here’s the plot summary:

Suzuki plays a divorced producer in publishing who meets a man 17 years younger than her (Hasegawa) and begins having an affair with him. Fukada plays Hasegawa’s wife.

NHK has announced the broadcast of a drama series titled “Second Virgin,” starring  Suzuki Kyoka (42) and Fukada Kyoko (27). Actor Hasegawa Hiroki (33) will play the male lead.

The series will air on Tuesday nights at 10:00pm, beginning on October 12. It has also been announced that the theme song will be Kumi Koda’s

“Anata Dake ga,” which goes on sale as a double A-side single with “Suki de, Suki de, Suki de” on September 22.

I was hoping a new J-drama would be good Japanese practice, but this soap is really sad. Maybe I was disappointed that the “younger” man is not particularly attractive. Is that to make the female lead look foxier?

Has anyone else seen this drama? I also wonder, thinking ahead, what is the next generation of cougar, a GILF? Lastly, does anyone else agree with the hubb and I that singer Kudo Kumi looks like a tranny?!

“Skinship”

Japan is full of katakana English that has no real meaning in English. Like “service,” which refers to a small business giving the customer a freebie, often spontaneously as a reward for being a loyal customer. Sitting in Shinjuku Gyoen, enjoying hanami with several friends, I learned a new slang, “skinship.” That refers to building friendship through touching. Since touching is somewhat rare in public, borrowing from English is considered somehow appropriate. I explained to my friend the difference between “touching” and “groping.”

Boots in

A new male youth fashion is called “boots in.” It involves super skinny pants, often jeans but not always, tucked inside mid-calf boots. This guy’s shoes are not as impressive as his overall pose. But it gives you the idea.

Shouldn’t it be called “pants in” instead of “boots in”? Oh well, Japanese English is always unpredictable.

New “soshoku” male fashion

Not to be confused with the soshokukei (herbivore) male trend— an anti-salary man, new generation of non-aggressive and vain young men— the Mainichi newspaper introduces a new type of soshoku (same sound, different kanji).

The new soshoku are “decorative” males. My favorite kind. They enjoy unisex and ladies’ clothes (but are not cross-dressing), and are partial to a super slim silhouette that is impossible for their oji-san admirers to imitate. I love the photos that represent the new look, and have posted them above.

BTW, I am lurking and shooting my own fashion observations, and as fanservice to my readers I’ll post them soon.

New slang & trends of 2009

One of the joys of November in Japan is the release of the top 60 new slang and trends of the year. Publisher Jiyu Kokuminsha provides the list, and fortunately Pink Tentacle provides excellent translations of each term (with explanations for those who may be less familiar with pop culture, politics and notorious crimes in Japan).

Next month 10 finalists are selected. I will start introducing some terms on my blog. You can read the full list of 60 new slang of 2009 on Pink Tentacle.

Above is sekushii buchō (セクスィー部長, or sexy department chief), a character with exaggerated masculine sex appeal from the NHK sketch-comedy show “Salaryman NEO.”

An Ode to Hot English Chastity

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I am an idiot, but the phrase “hot english chastity” has me laughing aloud. “Hot chastity” is already funny, but “hot english” is almost as improbable in my mind. Is it true what the Japanese guy told me, that I am an “A-jia・sen”? Like “debusen,” or fatty-chaser, I guess “ajisen” is an Asian-chaser.  Nonetheless, the new Jane Campion film might be romantic and sultry indeed.