English is something of an international language, and so it tends to make out with a lot of native tongues. In Japan, I hear a lot of English phrases scattered into otherwise Japanese conversations. Most of them, however, make no sense to anyone who isn’t Japanese.
It’s called “wasei-eigo,” or “Japanese-Made English.” Most Japanese don’t know that these expressions are incomprehensible, but I’ve made an effort to learn them because I hate embarrassing people when they try to show me their English.
Here’s a list of some English words you won’t understand in Japan, used in a sample sentence.
The go-to word for “pop” or “soda,” ie, anything carbonated that isn’t beer.
“This cider is just what I need after a long run.”
A pithy phrase used when the doctor tells you to stop.
“I really want a cigarette. But I can’t do it, man. Doctor stop.”
“The dog died. It drank the long-life coolant.”
“I lost my virginity to fashion health.”
A Fist Bump.
“Some say Barack Obama’s odd gesture with Michelle was a terrorist guts pose.”
The designated driver.
“I got totally wasted. Good thing my bro was an awesome handle keeper.”
The In Key
A key that has been locked inside of your car.
“Oh man. The in key is right there!”
“That party had too much tension. I couldn’t stop dancing!”
“There’s been a lot of tension here since this office went gender-free.”
Juice or Soda.
“Do you want a juice? We have cider.”
“Do you want a soft drink? We have pine.”
One’s personal taste in matters of style.
“Pink leopard-print pants match my red-dyed mullet. What can I say? It’s my boom.”
“Rick sure is moody. Why don’t we promote him?”
“Oh, this pine flavored cider looks delicious!”
“Yeah, well, I don’t need to play sports to get girls. I’m gonna be a really good poemer.”
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