Karen Sandness' Head Scratchers

Submitted by adamrice on 15 December 2006 - 12:14pm. J>E glossaries

The Japanese have been borrowing foreign words ever since their first encounters with Chinese culture nearly 2000 years ago. However, the words often do not survive the borrowing process unscathed. The following is a list of roomaji (Roman alphabet) abbreviations, wasei Eigo (made-in-Japan English), and borrowed words and phrases that have been abbreviated and recombined beyond recognition. What they have in common is that almost none of them are used outside Japan. (Well, Pokemon has gained international currency in the past year or so, but the rest are pretty obscure.)

The glossary began as a catalogue of words that I myself had encountered in translation jobs, personal reading, and travels to Japan. I learned about many of these words from members of the Honyaku Internet mailing list. Some of them came up as genuine “head scratchers,” words and phrases that were impeding someone’s progress in a translation job. Some of the technical and engineering terms were first compiled by Bill Lise and are used here with his permission. Most of the automotive terms were originally compiled by Stephen A. Carter and are also used here with permission. Others came to me through private e-mail from readers of earlier versions of this glossary. You all know who you are, and you are too numerous to mention, but thank you!

Some of these words will be familiar to anyone who has ever lived in Japan, but others are relatively recent coinages or belong to the jargon of a specific occupational group. A few of the words in this list are native Japanese words that are typically written in katakana and therefore sometimes mistaken for gairaigo (borrowed words). A prime example is ヒヤリハット (hiyari hatto), which despite all appearances, is not gairaigo for some kind of hat. Consult the list to see what it actually is.

All entries are given in a-i-u-e-o order, with Japanese script in the first column, a Roman alphabet transcription in the second column, and a definition and commentary in the third column.

 

 

3K

kiken, kitsui, kitanai (three undesirable attributes of a job)

PL

third-party logistics

3S

standardization, simplification, specialization

5S

seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke, the basic principles of TPM (qv)

A/C

account

AV

1) adult video, 2) audiovisual

B2B

business-to-business

BGM

background music

B(k)

Bk-han

black separation (printing)

B/S

balance sheet

CG

computer graphics

C

cyan separation (printing)

C面取り

C-mentori

chamfering

COP

crystal-originated particle

CR

1) resistance capacitor, 2) child resistant, 3) card reader

DM

1) direct mail, 2) private message to an individual on a mailing list

DPE

Developing, printing, and enlarging

ESA

electronic spark advance (automotive)

FA

free agent

FC

franchise chain

FP

financial planner

GL

guideline

HP

home page

H/W

[computer] hardware

IC

If “integrated circuit” doesn’t make sense, try “interior coordinator.”

I/C

[highway] interchange

I/F

interface

KYT

kiken, yochi, toreeningu

LBP

laser (beam) printer

L/C

logic control

LL

language laboratory

M+number

“magic number” so that, for example, M9 means nine more victories until clinching the championship

M/C

master cylinder

MFP

multifunctional peripheral

MGM

mukatsuku go byou mae (むかつく五秒前)”five seconds from losing it”

M

M-han

magenta separation (printing)

ML

mailing list

NG

1) no good, 2) no go, 3) movie outtake

OA

1) office automation, 2) open-ended answer

OB

“old boy,” used in the British sense of alumnus

OHP

overhead projector

OJT

on-the-job training

OL

“office lady,” female clerical worker

OSM

on-site massage

OVA

on-video animation

PA

parking area

P3I

pre-planned product improvement

P/F

perforation

PKF

peace keeping force

PL

1) pail, 2) PL (Perfect Liberty) Kyoudan (PL教団), one of the New Religions, 3) product liability

P/L

profit and loss [statement]

PM, A/M:

property management, asset management

PPC

plain paper copier

PPK

pinpin korori

Used to describe an elderly person who doesn’t have to suffer through a lot of illness or disability before death but remains mentally and physically active until dying suddenly of a heart attack or stroke.

PQ

from patan kyuu (パタンキュー)a sudden systemic breakdown or crash

PRTR

Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry

R面取り

R-mentori

rounding corners

RE

reverse engineering

SP

security patrol

SPW

spring washer (automotive)

S/W

software

T/M

transmission

TPM

total plant management, total product management. This abbreviation is somewhat known in English-speaking business circles, at least by those who are always on the lookout for new management techniques.

TS

tracking stocks

Tバック

T-bakku

“T-back”: thong panties

VSP

vehicle speed

Wカセット

W-kasetto

double cassette; the prefix “W” is often used to mean “double”

Y

Y-han

yellow separation (printing)

アイス・キャンディー

aisu kyandii

“ice candy”: a frozen treat similar to a Popsicle

アールをとる

aaru o toru

take the radius

アイテム

aitemu

“item”: something that one “just has to have”

アイ・メート

ai meeto

“eye mate”: guide dog for the blind

アウトパック

autopakku

“out pack”: 1) retail tray packaging, 2) outsourced packaging

アクセル

akuseru

accelerator

アクリル

akuriru

acrylic, especially acrylic fiber

アグロメ

agurome

agglomeration

朝シャン

asa-shan

morning shampoo

アシマネ

ashimane

assistant manager

アス・コン

asu kon

asphalt concrete

アッシー

asshii

assy,” from the abbreviation for “assembly” (automotive)

アッテネーター

atteneetaa

attenuator

アップトーク

appu tooku

“up talk,” a style of speaking in which the speaker gives the end of each sentence or phrase a higher intonation

アトピー

atopii

a predisposition toward allergies

アナ

ana

“announcer,” often used as a title when the names of television announcers are shown on screen

アナカン

anakan

unaccompanied baggage

アニカラ

anikara

“anime karaoke,” karaoke accompanied by animation

アニメ

anime

animated cartoon

アパコン

apakon

aperture compensation

アブ

abu

shock absorber

アフターサービス

afutaa saabisu

“after service”: services such as repairs and checkups provided to purchasers of a product

アプリ

apuri

(computer) application

アフレコ

afureko

“after recording,” adding sounds to a soundtrack after a movie has been filmed

アポ

apo

appointment

アメカジ

amekaji

American casual

アメフト

amefuto

American football

アーム・ウォマー

aamu uomaa

“arm warmer” A knitted sleeve, analogous to a leg warmer

アムラー

Amuraa

young girls who imitate the style of singer Amuro Namie

アルサロ

arusaro

arubaito saron,” a “salon” where the hostesses are supposedly part-timers with other jobs

アングラ

angura

underground

アンケート

ankeeto

from French “enquete”: questionnaire

アンコン

ankon

“unconstructed,” an overcoat with very simple lines and no shoulder pads, etc.

アンダーリヤ

andaa riya

rear underbody

アントレ

antore

entrepreneurship

アンビリ 

anbiri

unbelievable

イイ

I-i

Iran-Iraq

イージーパンツ

iijii pantsu

“easy pants,” loose-fitting pants with an elastic or drawstring waist

イソ体

iso-tai

isomer

イタカジ

itakaji

Italian casual

イタめし

itameshi

Italian food

一眼レフ

ichigan refu

single lens reflex

イメチェン

imechen

“image change”: what cute little teen idol singers have to go through if they hope to survive in show business past the age of nineteen

イラスト

irasuto

illustration

イルコン

irukon

illumination control

イルミ

irumi

illumination

インクリビジネス

inkuribijinesu

incremental business

インスト

insuto

“instructions,” briefings for market researchers

インディーズ・ビデオ

indiizu bideo

pornographic videos not approved by the 日本ビデオ倫理協会 (Nihon Bideo Rinri Kyoukai)

インテリ

interi

intelligentsia

インパネ

inpane

instrument panel

インフレ

infure

inflation

インポ薬

impo yaku

anti-impotence medication

インマニ

inmani

intake manifold

インメガチャート

inmegachaato

TV test pattern chart, megacycles chart

ウィンカー

uinkaa

“winker”: the turn signal on a car

ウエス

uesu

rag (for wiping)

ウエストモール

uestomooru

weather strip molding

エアコン

eakon

air conditioning

エアサス

ea sasu

air suspension

エアモニ

ea moni

on-air monitor

エーコッコシー

eekakkoshii

[non-gairago] adjective describing someone who is overly concerned with status. Can be used enviously with reference to someone of real accomplishment. Kansai dialect.

エキパイ

ekipai

exhaust pipe

エキマニ

ekimani

exhaust manifold

エコステーション

eko suteeshon

a service station for cars that run on alternative fuels

絵コンテ

e-konte

storyboard (film)

エステ・サロン

esute saron

“esthetic salon,” where people go to get makeovers, massages, facials, etc.

エネトピア

enetopia

a housing development designed with an eye toward energy conservation

エバチップ

ebachippu

“evaluation chip”: special version of a product with features that allow it to be used for evaluation

エフ

efu

tags attached to industrial equipment when defects or malfunctions are discovered. The tag is removed when the problem has been corrected.

エミフィル

emifiru

EMI (electro-magnetic interference) filter

エログロ

eroguro

erotic and grotesque

エンスト

ensuto

engine stall

エンプラ

enpura

engineering plastics

オクション

okushon

a pun on the word manshon, this refers to an apartment whose purchase price is so high that it is stated not in units of ten thousand yen (man) but in units of one hundred million yen (oku).

オードブル

oodoburu

hors d’oeuvres

オナドル

onadoru

“onanism idol”: a fantasy object for masturbation. Formerly オナペット (onapetto).

オバタリアン

obatarian

aunt”+”battalion”: a rude and obnoxious older woman

オフコン

ofukon

office computer

オペアンプ

opeanpu

operational amplifier

オリフラ

orifura

orientation flat (semiconductors)

オルゴール

orugooru

from German Orgel? music box

顔アップ

kao appu

close-up of a face

ガスクロ

gasukuro

gas chromatography

カステラ

kasutera

a type of pound cake (Portuguese word)

カステン

kasuten

cabinet containing medical instruments (German word)

カゼ

kaze

If “wind” or “cold” doesn’t make sense, and the context is chemical, try “casein.”

カセットコーヒー

kasetto koohii

“cassette coffee”: a single serving of ground coffee in a plastic filter

ガッツポーズ

gattsu poozu

“guts pose”: a triumphant pose assumed by an athlete

カーナビ

kaanabi

car navigation system

カニバリ

kanibari

cannibalization

カミセン

kamisen

“Coming Century”: the younger members of the group V6

カメリハ

kameriha

camera rehearsal

ガヤ

gaya

background chatter on a soundtrack (not gairaigo)

カラバラ

karabara

ballads sung by Karashima Midori

カルウエ

karu-ue

calcium wafer

カルテ

karute

Karte” (German) patient’s medical chart

ガンクロ

gankuro

(not gairaigo) a darkly tanned face. Fashionable among trendy young people ca. 1999-2000.

カンコロジー

kankorojii

“can ecology”: beautifying a recreational or other public area by picking up empty beverage cans

カンテラ

kantera

an old-fashioned metal lantern (source uncertain)

カンニング

kanningu

“cunning”: cheating on a test

ガンバリズム

ganbarizumu

gambarism”: the attitude that one must keep going no matter what. From the verb がんばる (ganbaru).

ガンプラ

ganpura

Gundam plastic models

キープサンプル

kiipu sanpuru

“keep sample”: reference sample

ギプス

gipusu

from German “Gips”: plaster cast (for broken bones)

キープボットル

kiipu botoru

“keep bottle”: a bottle of whiskey that a bar customer buys, writes his name on, keeps on a shelf at the bar, and drinks little by little on successive visits.

キャスター

kyasutaa

“caster”: a newscaster

キャスティング・ボート

kyasuting booto

“casting vote”: the deciding vote

キャッチコピー

kyatchi kopii

“catch copy”: In copywriting, large text that appears in ads or brochures to catch the reader’s attention

キャッチセールス

kyatchi seerusu

“catch sales”: an unscrupulous sales practice in which customers are pressured into signing expensive contracts that are hard to break.

キャッチバー

kyatchi baa

“catch bar”: the kind of bar that has touts standing outside trying to lure in customers

キャッチボール

kyatchi booru

“catch ball”: playing catch

キャッチホン

kyatchihon

“catch phone”: call waiting

キャップ

kyappu

the top reporter at a newspaper’s local office

キャラ

kyara

character in a manga (comic book) or anime (q.v.)

ギャラ

gyara

“guaranteed” fee paid to performing artists

キャリア

kyaria

career government employee

キャンギャル

kyangyaru

“campaign gal”: model featured in an advertising campaign

キャンピングカー

kyanpingu kaa

“camping car”: trailer, caravan

キーワード

kiiwaado

“keyword”: buzzword, catch phrase

グッズ

guzzu

“goods”: promotional items

クーラー

kuuraa

“cooler”: air conditioner

グライコ

guraiko

graphic equalizer”

クラクション

kurakushon

“klaxon”: car horn

クラサバ

kurasaba

client server

グラビア

gurabia

short for “photogravure”

グランド

gurando

“ground” (electrical)

クリコン

kurikon

Christmas concert

グルイン

guruin

group interview

グルメ

gurume

gourmet

クレパス

kurepasu

pastel crayons

クレーム

kureemu

“claim”: customer complaint

クロカン

kurokan

“cross country”: an off-road vehicle

クロコン

kurokon

cross country skiing

グロス

gurosu

lip gloss

クロスニコル

kurosu nikoru

crossed Nichol prism

ケアウエル

kea ueru

wellness care

軽トラック

kei-torakku

lightweight truck

ゲーセン

geesen

[video] game center

ゲートボール

geetobooru

“gate ball”: a game similar to croquet

公園デビユー

kouen debyuu

“park debut”: bringing one’s child to the local park to play for the first time.

合同コンパ

goudou konpa

a “mixer”

コギャル

kogyaru

obsessively trend-conscious teen-age girls who may offer themselves for 援助交際 (enjo kousai, usually translated as “compensated dating”) with older men in order to finance their lifestyle

コスプレ

kosupure

“costume play”: dressing up as one’s favorite manga or anime character

コズミックボーリング

kozumikku booringu

“cosmic bowling”: bowling in a bowling alley that is lit up like a disco with lots of flashing lights

コネ

kone

“connections” in the sense of knowing the “right” people

コピー

kopii

1) photocopying; 2) the blurb on a book jacket

コマ

koma

frame in a film or video

コマソン

komason

“commercial song”: commercial jingle

子マダム

komadamu

wealthy women who strive to follow the fashions exactly and be seen in all the right place

コミケット

komiketto

“comic market”: a convention where amateur manga artists sell their work

コミュニケーター

komyunikeetaa

“communicator”: operator in a telemarketing business

コラム

koramu

“column”: a stand-alone feature article framed by a box

コールテン

kooruten

corduroy

コレポン

korepon

correspondence

コングラ

kongura

computer graphics

コンサバ

konsaba

conservative

コンスト

konsuto

control strip

コンテ

konte

“continuity” in film making

コンパ

konpa

a group drinking party held at a bar or restaurant

コンパニオン

konpanion

a young woman whose job it is to demonstrate products, hand out pamphlets, etc. at conventions and trade shows

コンパネ

konpane

1) plywood panel or 2) control panel

コンパレートする

konpareeto suru

to compare

コンビニ

konbini

convenience store

コンペ

konpe

competition

コンロッド

konroddo

connecting rod (automotive)

サイド・リーダー

saido riidaa

“side reader”: a supplementary reader in a foreign language classroom

サービス

saabisu

can mean “service,” but also refers to items or services that a store gives away along with a purchase, i.e. “freebies.”

サーメット

saametto

ceramic metal. “Cermet” is also used in English writing about the field of ceramics technology

サウンドロゴ

saundo rogo

“sound logo”: a commercial jingle

ざくろブーム

zakuro buumu

popularity of pomegranates, which contain phytoestrogens

サドンデス

sadondesu

“sudden death” overtime

スブエコ

sabo eko

sub-economizer (electronics)

サラドレ

saradore

salad dressing

サンケア指数

sankea shisuu

sun protection index

サンスポ

sansupo

Sankei Sports

サントラ

santora

soundtrack

シール・セット

shiiru setto

“seal set”: a set of stickers

ジージャ

jiija

jeans jacket

ジーパン

jiipan

jeans, dungarees

シグラ

shigura

signal ground

シスオペ

shisuope

system operator; “sysop” is also used in English

シズルカット

shizuru katto

“sizzle cut”: a mouth-watering image in an advertising. (The English term is “sizzle shot.”)

シネコン

shinekon

cinema complex

シビル・ミニマム

shibiru minimamu

“civil minimum”: essential infrastructure

シプレヒコール

shipurehi kooru

Sprech (German word for “speak”) + call”: a voice call

ジベタリアン

jibetarian

young people who sit on the ground (jibeta) or sidewalk

ジャストクロック

jasuto kurokku

“just clock”: an internal clock that is always correct

ジャスピン

jasupin

in perfect focus

シャネラー

Shaneraa

Chaneler”: young women completely outfitted in Chanel clothing and accessories. There are corresponding terms for fans of other designers.

シャーレ

shaare

Schale” (German) a laboratory dish

ジャンパー

janpaa

“jumper”: a windbreaker jacket

シュークリーム

shuu kuriimu

fake French “choux crme”: creampuff

ジュンロン

junron

Junlon, a synthetic fiber

省エネ

shou ene

energy conservation

ジョントラ

jontora

John Travolta

シルボン紙

shirubon shi

lens-cleaning paper

シンクロ

shinkuro

oscilloscope

シンクロ納入

shinkuro nounyuu

synchronous supply

シーンタフネス性

shiin tafunesusei

“scene toughness”: the ability of a video camera to hold a scene steady

シンポ

shinpo

symposium

スカイライン

sukairain

“skyline”: a scenic mountain road

スキャントーク

skyantooku

“Scan Talk”: a barcode system for recording and playing back brief sequences of sound (brand name)

スキンシップ

skinshippu

skinship”: emotional communication through touch

スキンレディー

sukin redii

“skin lady”: a saleswoman who goes door to door selling condoms

スケールメリット

sukeeru meritto

“scale merit”: economies of scale

スタンガン

sutangan

stun gun

スタンディング

sutanding

free-standing bar

スチコン

suchikon

Styrol condensor

スッチ

succhi

short for “stewardess”

捨てポジ

sutepoji

photographic prints that you don’t keep

ストパー

sutopaa

straight perm

スパファク

supafaku

Much more innocent than it sounds, this is student slang for the restaurant chain “Spaghetti Factory.”

スペアナ

supeana

spectrum analyzer

スポドリ

supodori

sports drink

スライダック

suraidakku

variable autotransformer

スリーター

suriitaa

threeter”: a three-wheeled bicycle

スルーレート

suruureeto

slew rate

セカンドスクール

sekando sukuuru

“second school”: an outdoor environmental educational program for city children

セカンド・バッグ

sekando baggu

“second bag”: a zippered carrying case

セックスフレンド

sekkusu furendo

“sex friend”: someone with whom one is not romantically involved but frequently has sexual relations with anyway. Also known as やりとも(yaritomo).

セット・メーカー

setto meekaa

manufacturer of assembled products

ゼネコン

zenekon

general contractor

ぜり

zeri

“jelly”: sweet flavored gelatin dessert. The most popular flavors are コーヒー and ワイン.

セリーグ

Se Riigu

Central League

セル付

seru-tsuki

with a self-starter

セルフアップネジ

serufu appu neji

self up screw”: captive screw

セルフスタンド

serufu sutando

self stand”: self-service gasoline station

ゼンスト

zensuto

general strike

スピコン

supikon

speed controller

ソゲ、ソーゲ

soge, sooge

(not gairaigo) Dialect variation ofそう (sou).ソーゲナ(soogena)= そんな (sonna)

ソフトクリーム

sofuto kuriimu

“soft cream”: soft-serve ice cream

ソープランド

soopurando

“soap land”: a bath house/massage parlor offering sexual services. Formerly トルコ(toruko) from “Turkish bath,” but changed after protests from Turks resident in Japan.

ソルベン率

soruben ritsu

solvency ratio

ダイヤ

daiya

1) diamond, or 2) train schedule

タウルケット

tauruketto

towelket”: a type of bed linen resembling a large beach towel and used to cover one’s self in hot weather

ダウンサイジング

daunsaijingu

“downsizing”: switching from mainframe to personal computers

タクトタイム

takuto taimu

“tact time”: has to do with productivity, but discussions on the Honyaku mailing list indicate that its exact meaning may vary from company to company.

タコジェネ

takojene

tachogenerator

ダストボックス

dasuto bokkusu

“dust box”: Dumpster

タックシール

takku shiiru

“tack seal”: a round gummed sticker

ダボ

dabo

dowel

ダルメージ

darumeeji

Dulmadge-type screw

ダンする

 dan suru

make a done deal

チクソ性

chikusosei

thixotrophy (“the property of certain gels to liquefy when subjected to vibratory forces”)

チクソモールド

chikuso moorudo

thixomolding (plastic and semiconductor industries)

チップ抵抗

chippu teikou

SMT resistor

チャームポイント

chaamu pointo

“charm point”: most attractive feature

チャリ(ンコ)

chari(nko)

bicycle

チョベリグ

choberigu

very, very good (teen slang)

チョベリバ

choberiba

very, very bad (teen slang)

チョムカ

chomuka

very sickening (not gairaigo, teen slang)

チンピラ

chinpira

a young punk, young yakuza gangster (not gairaigo)

ディジカメ

dijikame

digital camera

ディジボル

dijiboru

digital voltmeter

デニる

deniru

to eat at Denny’s

デノミ

denomi

“denomination”: reducing the face value of currency after inflation has created impossibly high numbers

テープカット

teepu katto

“tape cut”: ribbon cutting ceremony

テーブルタップ

teeburu tappu

“table tap”: a power strip

デフレ

defure

deflation

テレクラ

terekura

“telephone club”: a telephone chat line/”dating” service

テレコ

tereko

tape recorder

テレ放題

tere houdai

NTT’s unmetered telephone service

テレワーク

terewaaku

“telework”: telecommuting

テロ

tero

terrorism

テロップ

teroppu

on-screen titles

ドーアップ

doo appu

extreme close-up

ドイト

doito

a “do-it-yourself” store

トーキ

tooki

“talkie”: a prerecorded announcement

ドクター・ストップ

dokutaa sutoppu

“doctor stop”: being ordered by one’s doctor to give up such habits as drinking, smoking, overeating, etc.

ドチャキャン

docha kyan

abbreviation of “dotanba de kyanseru suru” (cancel at the last minute)

トップページ

toppu peeji

“top page”: the home page of a Web site. See ホームページ.

トップランナー

toppu rannaa

“top runner”: a system of benchmarking against the best-in-class performance

ドラコン

dorakon

driving contest

トラポン

torapon

transponder

トランス

toransu

transformer

トルコン

torukon

torque converter

ドルペッグ

doru peggu

“dollar peg”: being pegged to the dollar

トレペ

torepe

tracing paper

ドロア

doroa

drawer

ナイス・ミディ・パス

naisu midi pasu

“nice middy pass”: a discount rail pass for groups of women over 30 who are traveling together

ナイラッチ

nairacchi

nylon latch

ナウい

naui

nowy”: up-to-date (slang from the 1980s)

ナウナウイズム

naunauizumu

“now-now-ism”: being interested only in the here and now without any regard for the future

ナシュプロ

nashupuro

national project

ナースコール

naasu kooru

“nurse call”: a patient’s call button in a hospital

なつメロ

natsumero

natsukashii melody”: nostalgic melody

ニッカド電池

nikkado denchi

nickel cadmium battery

ニュートラ

nyuutora

“new traditional”

ニューハーフ

nyuu haafu

“new half”: transsexual

人間ドック

ningen dokku

“human [dry]dock”: a thorough physical exam

ネグる

neguru

neglect

ネチズン

nechizun

Netizen

ネック

nekku

bottleneck

ノーパン

noopan

“no panties”: used to describe various establishments where the waitresses wear short skirts and no underpants.

ノーヘル

nooheru

without a helmet

ノーマーク

noomaaku

“no mark”: not covered, not observed, occurring off the radar. Used especially to refer to a rival company’s having been first to develop a new product.

ノンコンデザイン

nonkon dezain

nonconforming design

ノンセクション

non sekushon

“non section”: unaffiliated

ノンセクト

non sekuto

non-sectarian

バイじい

baijii

:Viagra ojiisan”: an old man who takes Viagra

ノンポリ

non pori

non-political

バイキング

baikingu

“Viking”: a smrgsbord or buffet dinner, from the Scandinavian origins of the smrgsbord (and the difficulty of transcribing smrgsbord into katakana, undoubtedly)

ハイス

haisu

high-speed steel

バイター

baitaa

“biter”: ice cream on a stick

パイプ

paipu

“pipes”: channels, official or otherwise

パイプ・カット

paipu katto

“pipe cut”: vasectomy

バイふューエル車

bai fyuueru sha

dual fuel vehicle

ハイミス

hai misu

“high miss”: older unmarried woman

ハイヤー

haiyaa

“hire”: a “hire car,” a car and driver that can be contracted for short periods of time

ハウス・ミヌカン

hausu manukan

“house mannequin”: sales clerk in a fancy boutique clothing store

ハウリング

hauringu

“howling”: audio feedback

パーキング・ドライバー

paakingu doraibaa

“parking driver”: parking valet

バーコード

baakoodo

“bar code”: the comb-over hairstyle favored by men vainly attempting to hide their baldness

パジャマ・コール

pajama kooru

“pajama call”: late-night phone call

バージン・ロード

baajin roodo

“virgin road”: the aisle that a bride walks down

バスコン

pasukon

bypass capacitor

バストフィット

basuto fitto

“bust fit”: the way a bra fits

バストレ

basu-tore

bass-treble

パソコン

pasokon

personal computer

パーソナル化

paasonaru-ka

personalization, when a product stops being a novelty or luxury and becomes a consumer item that “everyone” has, due to lower costs

パチスロ

pachisuro

slot machine in a pachinko parlor

パチプロ

pachipuro

professional pachinko player

バックシャン

bakkushan

back”+Germanschoen”: used to describe a woman who looks beautiful only from the back

パチモン

pachimon

cheap knockoffs of famous brands (not gairaigo)

パッサージ

passaaju

“passage”: a glassed-over arcade

バッタモン

battamon

merchandise obtained by buying out the inventories of failed retailers instead of going through normal wholesale channels

バッティング

battingu

“butting”: 1) intruding on someone else’s turf, 2) having a time or schedule conflict

バッテン

batten

dialect word used in Kyushu and a few other places for keredomobut).

バテレン

bateren

“padre”: the old name for the Portuguese priests who came to Japan in the sixteenth century

バーテン

baaten

bartender

パトカー

patokaa

patrol car

パトライト

patoraito

“patrol light”: a rotating warning light similar to the one on a “patokaa.”

パナホール

panahooru

Panasert hole (semiconductors)

パナマックス

panamakkusu

Panamax, the maximum size of ship that can pass through the Panama Canal

パンタクール

pantakuuru

Capri pants, pedal pushers

ハーフ

haafu

“half”: a person of mixed race, usually Japanese and something else

ハーフミラー

haafu miraa

“half mirror”: 50% beam splitter

パーマ

paama

permanent wave

ハマトラ

hamatora

“Yokohama traditional”: a style of clothing popular in the late 1970s and resembling a Catholic school uniform

バラ

bara

bulk storage

パラサイト・シングル

parasaito shinguru

“parasite single”: a single person who earns enough to live alone but prefers to live rent-free with his or her parents

バリカン

barikan

barber’s clippers

パリーグ

pariigu

Pacific League

バリコン

barikon

variable condenser

パルスモータ

parusu moota

“pulse motor”: stepping motor

バルボル

baruboru

“valve volt”: vacuum tube volt meter

ハローワーク

haroo waaku

“Hello Work”: the new name for the Japanese government employment agency

パ(ワ)ステ

pa(wa)sute

power steering

ハンスト

hansuto

hunger strike

パンスト

pansuto

short for パンティーストッキング(panty stocking), aka pantyhose.

パンタロン

 pantaron

(French) “pantalon”: cropped pants

ハンドキャリアー

hando kyariaa

“hand carrier”: employee of a messenger or delivery service

ハンドリフト

handorifuto

handlift”: pallet jack, manual forklift

パンピ

panpi

short for ippan piipuru (“most people)

ピアス

piasu

“pierce”: ear or body piercing

ヒーポン

hiipon

heat pump

ビオトープ

biotoopu

“biotope”: a wildlife refuge

ビジネス・プロデュース

bijinesu purodyuusu

“business produce”: starting up and developing a business

ピスコ

pisuko

piston corer

ビタビ復号

Bitabi fukugou

Viterbi decoding

ビシチェ

bisuche

bustier

ピッキング

pikkingu

“picking”: a distributor picking up merchandise form a storage facility

ピットイン

pitto in

“pit in”: pit stop

ヒッパレ

hippare

hit parade

ヒップボーン

hippuboon

“hip-borne”: hip hugger [pants]

ビニハン

binihan

vinyl (plastic) headed hammer

ビニボン

binibon

pornographic magazines sold wrapped in plastic

ヒーロ・パケージ

hiiro pakeeji

“hero package”: a commercial in which the product is the “hero” of the segment

ヒヤリハット

hiyari hatto

(not gairaigo) a close call, a near miss

ビルジャック

birujakku

“building highjack”: a hostage situation

ピンクちらし

pinku chirashi

a flyer advertising a sex-related business

ファイアストーム

faiasutoomu

“fire storm”: a celebratory bonfire

ファストン

fasuton

fast on [terminal]

ファミコン

famikon

“family computer”: home video game machine. A trademark used generically

ファミレス

famiresu

family restaurant

フィンドレビン

findorebin

vinyl drainpipe with fins

フェースシート

feesu shiito

“face sheet”: 1) top copy, 2) questionnaire that asks for a demographic profile

フェミニスト

feminisuto

“feminist”: can literally mean “feminist,” but it also refers to a man who practices “ladies first” etiquette.

プチブル

puchiburu

petit bourgeois

フライング

furaingu

“flying”: a false start in an athletic competition

ブラウン官

Buraun kan

cathode ray tube

プラスアルファ

purasu arufa

“plus alpha”: a little more than usual

プラスドライバー

purasu doraibaa

“plus driver”: Phillips screwdriver (from the shape of the head)

ブラック

burakku

“black”: a person with a poor credit rating, who is therefore blacklisted

ブラピ

Burapi

Brad Pitt

プラボットル

purabottoru

plastic bottle

フラマグ

furamagu

flywheel magnet

プラモデル

puramoderu

plastic model

プリクラ

purikura

“Print Club”: a photo booth that prints out cards and stickers of the resulting photograph. These are then traded among friends.

プリーケー

purii-kee

prepaid cellular phone (keitai denwa) service

フリーター

furiitaa

a person who doesn’t have a steady job but survives on a series of temporary or part-time jobs

フリーダイヤル

furii daiyaru

“free dial”: toll-free telephone call

ブリッコ

burikko

a young girl who affects an exaggeratedly sweet and innocent manner (1980s slang)

フリーマ

furiima

free market or flea market

プリン

purin

“pudding”: sweet egg custard

プレスコ

puresuko

prescoring”: recording the music or sound effects before filming a scene

フレキ

fureki

flexible cable

フレコン

furekon

flexible conduit

フレコン化

furekonka

changing something to full remote control

ブレスト

buresuto

brainstorming

プレゾン・エイド

purezon eido

presentation aid

フロアレディー

furoa redii

“floor lady”: a kind of bar hostess

プログレ

purogure

progressive rock

プロレス

puroresu

professional wrestling

ペアガラス

pea gurasu

“pair glass”: double glazing

ヘア・マニキュアー

hea manikyuaa

“hair manicure”: temporary hair dye or streaks

ペアリング

pearing

“pairing”” an unmarried couple living together

ベークオフ

beeku ofu

“bake off”: when a bakery bakes its wares from dough brought in from elsewhere

ベイ、ベー

bei/bee

used in northern dialects instead of darou or the tentative form of the verb, as in egu bee for ikou “Let’s go.”

ベースアップ

beesu appu

“base up”: salary increase. Abbreviated as ベア(bea).

ペーパードライバー

peepaa doraibaa

“paper driver”: a person who has a current driver’s license but doesn’t own a car

ペチャパイ

pechapai

(not gairaigo) flat chested

ベテラン

beteran

“veteran”: an older worker with extensive experience. Also used jokingly to refer to an old piece of equipment. Not used to refer to people who have served in the military.

ベッドタウン

beddo taun

“bed town”: bedroom community

ペットボトル

petto bottoru

“PET bottle”: clear plastic beverage bottle

ベビーオール

bebii ooru

“baby all”: a one-piece garment with snaps up the front, sort of like a jumpsuit for babies

ベビーサークル

bebii saakuru

“baby circle”: play pen

ヘリ

heri

helicopter

ヘルス

herusu

“health”: a type of massage parlor

ベル友

beru tomo

a person with whom one communicates by pager (pokeberu)

ポイント・メーク

pointo meeku

“point make”: making up only parts of one’s face instead of doing a full make-up job

ボキャ貧

bokyahin

lacking the words to say what one means. (Bokya is short for “vocabulary”)

ポケバイ

pokebai

“pocket bike”: a very small motorbike

ポケハロ

pokeharo

“pocket hello”: a “pocket Hello Kitty” that combines a pedometer and a tamagotchi

ポケベル

pokeberu

“pocket bell”: pager, beeper

ポケモン

Pokemon

“pocket monster”: Just in case you’ve been on another planet for a while, I’ll explain that this is the name of an internationally popular cartoon series.

ポジフィルム

poji firumu

positive film

ホッチキス

hocchikisu

“Hotchkiss”: stapler (from a brand name)

ボディコン

bodikon

“body consciousness”: wearing tight clothes to show off one’s body

ボディビル

bodibiru

bodybuilding

ポテチ

potechi

potato chip

ホトマル

hotomaru

photo multiplier

ホーム

hoomu

railway platform

ホーム・エステ

hoomu esute

“home esthetics”: a service that goes to clients’ homes to give beauty treatments

ホームスチール

hoomu suchiiru

“stealing home” in baseball

ホームドラマ

hoomu dorama

“home drama”: soap opera

ホームドレス

hoomu doresu

“home dress”: house dress, plain dress for everyday wear

ホームページ

hoomu peeji

“home page”: used to refer to an entire Web site. See トップページ(toppu peeji).

ポリ公

pori-kou

slang for police officer

ポリ袋

pori bukuro

polyethylene bag

ボリューム

boryuumu

“volume”: any kind of adjustment knob, not necessarily for sound

プロマネ

puromane

project manager

マイコン

maikon

1) microcomputer, 2) moving (animated) icon

マイナスシーリング

mainasu shiiringu

“minus ceiling”: a budget which is reduced in comparison to the previous fiscal year

マイブーム

mai buumu

“my boom”: something that a person is currently obsessed with or fascinated by

マイペース

mai peesu

“my pace”: at one’s own pace

マーケット・イン

maaketto in

“market in”: incorporating the needs of the market into a product

マザコン

mazakon

mother complex

マスコット

masukotto

“mascot”: a small thing that a person values (not only animals but also inanimate objects)

マスコミ

masukomi

mass communications, mass media

マスター

masutaa

“master”: the owner of a bar

マテハン

matehan

materials handling

マナーボタン

manaa botan

“manner button”: the button that prevents a cellular phone from ringing out loud in a public place

マニューシャ

manyuusha

minutia

マネロン

maneron

money laundering

ママチャリ

mamachari

the kind of bicycle favored by housewives running errands around their neighborhood

マルチ

maruchi

1) multimedia, 2) multilevel marketing

マンション

manshon

“mansion”: a condominium apartment

ミシュラン

mishuran

“Michelin”: a guidebook to anything, not just to tourist sites and restaurants

ミス

misu

mistake

ミスコン

misu kon

“miss contest”: a beauty contest to name “Miss Tofu” or something like that

ミスターレディー

misutaa redii

“Mr. Lady”: a transvestite

ミッション

misshon

1) transmission, 2) stick shift car

ミニコミ

minikomi

communications within a small range

ミーハー

miihaa

overly fascinated with and impressed by celebrities (not gairaigo)

ムック

mukku

“magazine”+ “book”: a thick illustrated publication on a single topic printed to look like a magazine

ムーバー

muubaa

“mover”: a mechanical ride

メーカーオプション

meekaa opushon

“maker option”: factory-installed option

メカ

meka

mechanism

メーク

meeku

make up

メール

meeru

“mail”: used [exclusively?] for e-mail

メクラキャップ

mekura kyappu

blank plug

メモる

memoru

to take notes

メリット

meritto

“merit”: advantage, strong point

メルアド

meru ado

e-mail address

メル友

merutomo

a friend with whom one corresponds by e-mail-

メルヘンチック

merhenchikku

from the German word “Maerchen”: having a fairy tale atmosphere

メンテ

mente

maintenance

モガ

moga

“modern girl”: a flapper (slang from the 1920s)

モータリゼーション

mootarizeeshon

“motorization”: the spread of car ownership within a developing country

モーテル

mooteru

“motel”: However, this usually refers to a rabu hoteru.

モバイラー

mo