Whenever I talk to people about the ten years I lived in Japan, the conversation usually touches on the fact that Japanese is a very difficult language to learn because it is so polite and formal. While this is true, everyday conversational Japanese isn’t as formal as most people perceive. In fact, it is Japanese slang, colloquialisms, and regional dialects that make learning the language a challenge.
During my ten years in Japan I lived in a number of cities and smaller towns. The hardest thing I found was deciphering the different local dialects and colloquialisms. This made learning Japanese interesting yet laborious. At times I found it almost impossible to understand the local country bumpkins in my neighbourhood. Unfortunately, this meant most of my wife’s family.
Why You Should Learn Japanese Slang
Like with most languages, you’ll only discover Japanese slang in Japan. While there are books and websites dedicated to the subject, you need to see Japanese slang in use in order to understand it. I don’t think I knew a word of Japanese slang before I left for Japan many years ago. Now, I find most of my Japanese conversations are littered with slang words. My wife is so funny! She’ll be speaking slang all day for months to me and my son, but whenever she she meets a Japanese person for the first time she is all polite and bowing like a chicken.
Learn Japanese Slang
You should learn Japanese slang. It will really do wonders for you conversational ability and impress Japanese. Most Japanese slang isn’t rude language, it is just very casual and expressive language. I must say I miss listening to the many hundred’s of colloquialisms and slang words Japanese say and invent. Also, learning Japanese slang will give you a better understanding of the Japanese mindset and how certain social situations require a certain different language.
Examples of Japanese Slang
Here are a few Japanese slang words you must know. Just be careful of when and who you say them to.
Baka = A fool / idiot / imbecile
Dasai = Nerdy, out of fashion
Darui = Sluggish
Busu = An ugly looking girl
Debu = A fatso
Kakkoii = Cool
Sugoi = Cool, fantastic, wow!
Pittari = A perfect fit
Maa maa = So so
Kusojiji = An old fart
Kusotare = A shithead
Ijiwaru = Cruel
Mechakucha = Huge / extremley
Shibui = Smart, fancy
Chikushou = Shit!
Hentai = Pervert
Sukebe = pervert
Japanese Slang Expressions
Damare! = Shut up!
Baka yarou! = You are really stupid!
Masaka! = No way! / That can’t be!
Yatta! = I did it!
Kusoooo! = Shit!
Chikushou! = Shit! / Damn it!
Shimatta! = Damn it!
Hayaku shine! = Drop dead, bastard!
Uso tsuki! = Liar!
Busu! = You’re so ugly!
Bikkuri shita! = WOW! (Total shock or surprise)
Hottoke! = Lay off! / Stop bugging me! / Bug off!
Baka! = You idiot!
Baka mitai! = You really look stupid!
Gaman dekinai yo! =I can’t stand it!
Nani sun da yo! = What the hell are you doing?
Tanoshimi yo! = Let’s Party!
Well, that should be enough to get you started. Learning and using Japanese slang is lots of fun. Enjoy!