I’ve been back in New York long enough to stop thinking it seems kind of slow in comparison to Tokyo and love the city again, but still fascinated with the culture. H is still there for another month or so, so I just sent him a list of Japanese terms I learned from the outstanding book Tabloid Tokyo, a collection of stories from Japanese weekly and monthly magazines, sort of pulp non-fiction. Not judging, but wow, is there some weird stuff here. I particularly enjoy how such bizarre and complex terms can be summed up so neatly.
panchira: fetish for checking out chick’s underpants
burusera: special store for buying chick’s underpants and other unmentionables (used, ideally)
kappuru kissa: literally “couples’ coffee shop”, really a swinger’s club, also see “happening bars”
getekyaba: hostess club full of hideous/odd women, kyaba: cabaret, no English equivalent for gete “think of something both weird and sleazy but conducted with gusto” is the excellent explanation given
yobai: literally “night crawling”, explained as a common fantasy/plotline “to steal into a house to see a woman under cover of night” for peeping or more sinister activities
aribai-ya: alibi service, agency that (for one example) provides fake actors to play parents of female sex worker so she can appear respectable to boyfriend and his family
no-pan kissa: coffee shop with mirrored floors and pantyless waitresses
image club: fantasy club were you can pretend to be a naughty schoolboy or whatever
deriheru: literally “delivery health”, health meaning sex, “if she goes to your place, it’s not prostitution” says amazing Japanese logic
Dutch wives: sex dolls, box will arrive with the stamp kenko kigu (health apparatus)
soapland: massage parlor
Watakano: island of prostitutes, two hours from Nagoya
Loulan: shabu shabu restaraurant in Shinjuku that has “no-pan” (no pants) waitresses. Really, this is a thing.
chikan: men who enjoy groping women in public places, article in book details particular challenges and attractions for said activity in winter
ore-ore: means “It’s me,” type of fraud where criminals extort money pretending to be their child
Zamancho: nickname for a man who “clones” people (basically commits identity theft), name is a contraction for “slovenly company president”
atari-ya: professional accident victim who jumps in front of cars and shakes the drivers down for money
mikoroshi: book defines it as “a delightful Japanese word meaning ‘to stand idly by while another dies.'”
yonige-ya: literally “a fly-by-nighter,” service that help people disappear in the middle of the night, say, to flee debts or leave an abusive spouse
parasite couple/singles: people still living with, and off of, their parents, well after they should have left home
tsuchinkoko: Japanese mythical creature, like snake but thicker
yamanba: literally “mountain hag,” bizarre street fashion trend in Shibuya characterized by bleached hair, panda faced makeup
eropuri: contraction of erotic and print, phenomenon of young teen girls taking naked pictures of themselves in photobooths (purikura).
Ideal is to look erokawaku (erotic cute), which could be said for a lot of Japanese street fashion
yamesaseya: professionals who specialized in making people quit by putting workers in a “restructure box” so that you leave your job and the company can restructure. Basically the “box” has nothing in it: no phones, no computers, no work; a corporate “solitary confinement.” Sounds like Milton in Office Space.
saboru: goofing off on company time, derived from sabotage.
That is just a taste of this wonderous book. You can probably find a lot of these articles (they all come from English-language Japanese newspapers) by Googling the terms, but it should really be read in its entierty.