Slang are non-standard words which are created when people want to add a unique flavor to their speech, or when groups want to reinforce their status as being “separate” from the mainstream. A lot of slang comes into use through the Internet, and Japan’s world of net lingo can be quite colorful. First there’s ググる guguru, the Japanese verb for “to google” something, though in Japan Yahoo is still king, so you’re likely to hear phrases like ヤフーでググった yahoo de gugutta (“I googled it on Yahoo”) spoken without irony. Japanese net slang is often based on numbers, like 2828 which can be read as ニヤニヤ niya-niya, the “sound” of someone grinning, or 8888, which can be read パチパチパチパ pachi-pachi-pachi-pachi, which represents the sound of appaluse. In the same way that the English slang word “pwn” (meaning to defeat an opponent utterly, usually in a video game) reportedly came from a typo of “own,” keyboard errors sometimes become canonized as slang in Japan. Some examples include うp, おk and ようつべ, which are what happens when you type “up” (meaning upload), “ok” or “YouTube” with Japanese mode activated. If you’ve ever wondered why Japanese people sometimes write “w” or longer “www” at the ends of sentences, this represents laughter, which is 笑う warau in Japanese. Net slang is a big part of Steins;Gate, and how and when to represent it into English was something we had to decide as we were porting the game. Happily, Steins;Gate has a tool tip system that allows unfamiliar concepts to be explained to players in a glossary format, so it’s easy for all fans to enjoy and learn about Japan. If you plan on getting the limited edition of the game you should make sure you order it quickly, as it will definitely sell out soon after it ships March 31.
Japan’s world of “internet slang” is interesting to explore.