Top 10 Buzzwords of 2011 in Japan: 2

Continuing with the top 10 buzzwords of 2011 then, we take a look at the remaining 5 terms with were picked to best represent the year in Japan.



Returner Refugees


Perhaps a bit of a confusing term. 帰宅 means ‘to return home’ while 難民 is usually translated as ‘refugee’. The term actually refers to the commuters who were stranded after public transport was knocked out following the Great East Japan Earthquake.



Is it an echo?


This is a line from the children’s poem by Misuzu Kaneko. It opens with the line: Is it an echo? and finishes with ‘No, anyone’. Quite cryptic. It was used in a commercial by AC Japan and played over and over again. Below is the poem in full – if you can’t figure it out, check out the explanation here.










11th March, 2011


Just like 9.11, the date of the twin towers tragedy in America, the Great East Japan Earthquake has been labelled with 3.11 to refer to the date the earthquake and tsunami hit. It’s certainly one that will be appearing in future history books.


ふうひょう ひがい

Harmful Rumours


被害 is the standard term meaning ‘damage’, but 風評 is a little more interesting. A combination of ‘wind’ and ‘commentary’, it refers to rumours or the reputation of something. Literally ‘reports spread by the wind’. It has been and will continue to be a major theme and problem for Fukushima and its residents because of the lack of knowledge and misinformation (harmful rumours) that are circulating about the radiation leaks from Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.


ラブ ちゅうにゅう

Love Injection


A popular catchphrase from comedian Tanoshingo that involves making a heart shape with your hands and thrusting it out towards some unfortunate soul. Love Injection! Also worth noting is the first syllable in 注入 – ちゅう – a casual term for ‘kiss’, giving the term an extra cutsey feeling.

Source: Jiyu Kokuminsha


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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