The Urbanist’s Tokyo: Talking Points

Anglified Japanese Slang
Nowadays, it’s impossible to speak Japanese without using English loan words, which make up about 10 percent of the spoken language. Here’s a look at a subgroup of such words.

Burapi: Brad Pitt

Chaamu pointo: charm point
The most attractive feature, especially of a woman.

Manshon: mansion
A plain-old concrete apartment.

Baajin roodo: virgin road
The aisle in a church that a bride walks down.

Hippu: hips
A euphemism for “rear end.”

Sukinshippu: skinship
Physical closeness, be it hugging or hand-holding, in a sauna or bedroom.

Baikingu: Viking
All-you-can-eat buffet.

Mai peesu: my pace
Marching to the beat of your own drum.

What’s trending in the world capital of fads, according to those who write about them.


OJI style
“Guys and girls alike are into the OJI, or ‘old man,’ look this fall. It’s British-gentleman country style: Harris-tweed jackets with elbow patches, turtleneck sweaters, chinos.” —Takashi Chisaka, fashion blogger


Fake bangs
“Recently girls are wearing fake bangs that have a little comb that clips onto the front of their hair. The idea is to elongate the forehead and make them look younger and cuter, like AKB48 [a female pop group whose 50 or so (!) members are chosen American Idol style].”—Misha Janette, fashion journalist


Eighties renaissance
“Thanks to Lady Gaga, you now see MC Hammer pants, tight miniskirts, Care Bear shirts, candy necklaces, and studded handbags and boots. They’re doing it in their own modern way, though I do feel a pang of nostalgia.” —Mari Inoue, fashion blogger

What’s the Deal With All the Sex Clubs?

Photo: Joan Sinclair

“In ‘image clubs,’ you can find all the uniformed archetypes of daily life—only sexualized: the commuting secretary, the schoolgirl, the sushi waitress, the stewardess, even the convenience-store clerk. There also are clubs built to look like subway cars, where customers buy a ten-minute ‘all you can grope’ session. No doubt these clubs are ­yakuza-run, but as far as legality, it’s a gray zone with sporadic enforcement. Places get shut down because of fire-code violations, not prostitution laws. (Club owners have creative work-arounds for skirting Japan’s anti-prostitution laws, like having services rendered at a nearby hotel, so the club technically isn’t a bawdy house.) Every session is scripted down to the last detail: You choose the girl, the fantasy, the room, the uniform. You can also pay $40 to have your ears cleaned, just like a real Japanese girlfriend would.” —Joan Sinclair, photographer and author of Pink Box: Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs

The Urbanist’s Tokyo: Talking Points