10 Japanese Buzzwords for 2013

Every year publisher Jiyu Kokuminsha publishes a list of buzzwords that capture the things that were popular. Everything from popular catchphrases on television to political terminology and even niche terms used on the internet.

Over on, I translate and explain these words as they are published annually. This year, I also had the good fortune to discuss a top 10 list with Gaijinpot host Anthony Joh.


As well as being an insightful look into contemporary Japanese culture, there is also a lot of great language tied up in some of these expressions useful to the learner of Japanese. So for this entry, just sit back, relax and listen to me explain 10 of the hit words to come out of Japan this year. The podcast is entirely in English, so even though some of the words may be tricky to use, learners of all abilities can enjoy it. Interview begins at 4:10.

Here are the terms you’ll hear in the podcast:

  • 弾丸登山 – Bullet Climb
  • バカッター – Twit-ter
  • じぇじぇじぇ – Jejeje
  • ブラック企業 – Black Corporation
  • 追い出し部屋 – Purging Room
  • ご当地キャラ – Local Characters
  • アベノミクス – Abenomics
  • ダイオウイカ – Giant Squid
  • おもてなし – Omotenashi
  • ダークツーリズム – Dark Tourism
  • If you have any questions, leave them in the comments!


    9 Responses to Gakuu. Studying with Real Japanese

    1. Sabrina September 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

      This is pretty cool! Right now I’m studying on Textfugu which is great! I belive Gakuu can be really helpul too. What I like most is that its for pre-intermediate to advanced level students. So you can’t say its the same thing over and over again… students can actually improve their knowledge here. Thank you very much for creating this site. Have a nice day :)

      • Gakuranman September 30, 2010 at 1:09 am #

        Hi Sabrina! Thank you for your comment :).

        That’s definitely our aim. I love Textfugu for beginners and really getting students a solid grounding in the language, but afterwards (and even while) studying the basics, it can really help to encounter raw Japanese material. You don’t have to understand everything at first, but feeling challenged and picking up little bits here and there that are extra to your learning the basics helps expand your mind. Let me know if you have any more questions! More demonstration material will be up soon! We are currently having a special launch sale price for early adopters, so check out the pricing page if interested :).

        • Sabrina September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

          Thanks for your reply. :) Unfortunately I’m even still miles away from the intermediate level. But I’ll definetly return to Gakuu when I get to this point. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the extra demonstration material. :) Keep up the good work.

          • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 12:21 am #

            Sure thing :). Let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for things you’d like to see on Gakuu!

    2. missingno15 October 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

      When I looked at this, I first thought to myself, “aw hell no, gakuranman is doing the same thing as koichi…even the website layout is similar”. But then I realized “it’s aimed at pre-intermediate to advanced level students” which is perfect for my situation right now because I now really want to excel way past beginner. So basically, Gakuu really complements Textfugu. Can’t wait for more lessons to see how this is gonna be like so I can decide if its worth getting.

      • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

        Hey there! Thanks for dropping by :). No way – Koichi and I are buds. I’ve always loved teaching the more advanced stuff so it worked out perfectly. I’ll be adding more stuff in the coming days, so please stay tuned!

        • Lee Aloy October 23, 2016 at 5:20 am #


          I am sorry to ask this silly question. Are you Japanese?
          am hoping to find a Japanese friends here please shot me an email:

    3. DumbOtaku (percent20) October 3, 2010 at 12:58 am #

      This is really cool. I am glad to see more online content going beyond just teaching hirigana and katakana. That is what I try to do on my blog, but with to little consistency. Glad to see an expert do it, btw already a signed-up paid member now. :)

      • Gakuranman October 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

        Glad to have you man! Look forward to hearing any suggestions you have for the site and future lessons :)

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