Thursday, October 22, 2009

Obandoke, omae

Hey dude, feel your soul heal:

A contributor to a mailing list for Japanese-English translation that I read reports that the verb obamu is gaining currency on the Kyoto University campus. He writes, “It means something along the lines of, ‘to ignore anything which appears to make you likely to fail or (be) wrong, and blindly surge ahead (preferably chanting, “yes we can, yes we can”)’.” He adds that he heard a friend jokingly try to cheer someone up by saying, “obandoke, omae.” (オバんどけ、お前.)

If I had to translate that on the fly, it would come out something like, “Lighten up and think positive, guy!”

There do seem to be different interpretations - as you'd expect for a neologism:
I found it as an entry dated 22 September in a collection of slang and modern usage put together by the Japanese Teachers’ Network in Kitakyushu. Here’s what they write:

obamu: (v.) To ignore inexpedient and inconvenient facts or realities, think “Yes we can, Yes we can,” and proceed with optimism using those facts as an inspiration (literally, as fuel). It is used to elicit success in a personal endeavor. One explanation holds that it is the opposite of kobamu. (拒む, which means to refuse, reject, or oppose).

They give the following example:


Or, “Hey, why are you so down in the dumps? Cheer up, cheer up!”

So to those who find themselves newly added to the unemployment rolls, or to one-time allies in Eastern Europe facing alone a newly resurgent Russian Bear, let me just say "Hey, why are you so down in the dumps? Obandoke, omae!"

Ampontan is a very interesting blog that gives you inside baseubaru from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Hat tip: Don Surbur.


Weer'd Beard said...

What's very strange is his writings of "Obamu" are in the Hirigana charators, while Japanese generally reserve the Katakana for foreign words.

If this is proper do the Japanese consider "Obamu" a uniquely Japanese word?

scotaku said...

And of course, one should not use "omae" to strangers, bosses, or people you don't want to challenge. It's not really a polite word. It's not a cuss word, not by a long shot, but it's not very polite.

Also, one should never obamu, either.

Trumpeter said...

History of Islam. When the Prophet died, his step son, Alli and wife took the body home to perform the burial rituals. When they returned, the money men had already decided on a replacement.

Mohamed's step son held that only a decendant of the prophet who had the light of Allah shining from his face could become the prophet.

That phrase, the light of Alah shining from his face? The word in Arabic is BARAKA.

Sounds somewhat familiar, if only I could put my finger on it.