Japanese business cultural codewords

Part One – Japanese English

Student A

None of the words below have a direct translation into English. Explain one of them until your partner guesses which “wasei Eigo” phrase you are describing.

1. acryl (Japanese meaning)

2. all right! (Japanese meaning)

3. American coffee

4. arbeit/ part

5. bed town

6. bottle keep

7. cashing

8. chemical shoes

9. claimer

10. cool biz

11. cooler

12. doctor stop

13. dollar shock

14. free talking

15. Golden week

16. hire (n – Japanese meaning)

17. hostess bar

18. idling stop

19. image up

20. kiosk (Japanese meaning)

21. lift (Japanese meaning)

22. long seller

23. main bank

24. mama-san

25. manner mode

26. model change

27. morning service

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Japanese business cultural codewords

Part One – Japanese English

Student B

None of the words below have a direct translation into English. Explain one of them until your partner guesses which “wasei Eigo” phrase you are describing.

28. my boom

29. my car (Japanese meaning)

30. name value

31. native level

32. NG

33. OB

34. OL (office lady)

35. one man president/ one man company

36. pants look

37. paper driver

38. parasite single

39. pocketable

40. Recruit suit

41. royal milk tea

42. scramble (Japanese meaning)

43. service (Japanese meaning)

44. skyline (Japanese meaning)

45. snack (Japanese meaning)

46. stand bar

47. to challenge something

48. trunk room

49. unit bathroom

50. vinyl (Japanese meaning)

51. warm biz

52. washlet

53. White Day

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Part Two – Japanese expressions that you can’t translate

kacho

kakaricho

bucho

nomikai

enkai

bounenkai

kaizen

nemawashi

jikoushokai

KK (kabushiki kaisha)

shakaijin

yugen kaisha

madogiwa zoku

giri choco

ama kudari

cho rei

ringi sho

shuntoo

keiretsu

karoshi

What other Japanese expressions might be impossible to translate?

Useful phrases

It’s a bit like (the British/ American…) but…

This only exists in Japan and is…

This also exists in China/ Korea/ most Asian countries

Translated word for word, it would be…/ The direct translation is…

The normal translation is…

This is often explained as…

This means (something like)…

In Japan we say this when (we are talking about)…

This is in English dictionaries, but not everyone knows it. It means…

People sometimes think it means,,,, but actually…

It has something in common with…

It’s the closest Japanese equivalent to…

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PDF version for easy printing: Japanese business cultural codewords

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