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Skater Words hit the National TV Posted by on Aug 23, 2021 in Culture, Slang, Sports

Tokyo Olympics is over, and Japan has been seeing the COVID-19 number making the record every day.  But I am not going to talk about that.  I am going to write about a Japanese skateboard commentator that has been attracting many Japanese’s attention in a good way.

Skateboard was introduced in the Olympics for the first time.  Skateboarders, in general (通常 tsuujyo), are considered hip and not like the traditional athletes (運動選手 undo senshu) that Japanese people think of.  NHK, the Japanese public broadcasting company, broadcast the competition on TV and invited Ryo Sejiri, a skateboarder, as a commentator.  Sejiri was not a regular commentator but very passionate and very “street”, bringing a breath of fresh air to the Olympics broadcasting.  Viewers reacted to him saying he was “easy to understand” and  he was like their friends.

Sejiri conversed with Taisei Kurata, a commercial TV station announcer as the Olympic games were broadcast by the consortium of broadcasters. Both were praised as sincere and exciting.

Using っす(ssu) instead of  です (desu) is not a new fad. It is called ス体(su-tai, su-style.) Many males use this in a casual yet polite speech.  However, it was the first time that this style was used by an official commentator on TV.

Regular FormWhat the Announcer Said
(often with "ねえ” *1)
What Sejiri (commentator)said with っす体
ほしいです
hoshii desu
want
ほしいですねえ
hoshii desune
ほしいっすねえ
hoshii ssune
そうです
so desu
It is so
そうですねえ
so desune
そっすねえ
sossune
ハンパでないです
hanpade naidesu
awesome, incredible

ハンパねえっす
hanpa neessu
いいです
iidesu
It's good.
いいですねえ
iidesune
Isn't it good?
いいっすね
Iissune
さすがです
sasugadesu
Great as expected
さすがですね
sasugadesune
さすがっすね
sasugassune
かっこいいです
kakkoiidesu
It's so cool.
かっこいいですねえ
kakkoiidesune
かっこいいっす
kakkoiissu
ほんとです
hontodesu
It's true, indeed
ほんとですね
hontodesune
ほんとっすね
hontossune
あぶないです
abunaidesu
It's dangerous, risky.
あぶないですね
Abunaidesune
あーぶねっすね
a-bunessune
おもいます
omoimasu
I think
おもうっすよ
omoussuyo
おめでとうです
omedetoudesu
Congratulations
おめでとっすね
Omedetossune
おめでとうございます
Omedetougozaimasu
Congratulations (politely)
*2 おめでとうございますっす
Omedetougozaimasussu

*1 Announcer Kurata often used “ねえ”  1) to get the other’s attention, or 2) to agree with what the other said. *2  I think he was overdoing this.

According to Prof. Momoko Nakamura, ス体 (su-style)can express what です cannot – respect and friendliness at the same time.  There are so many levels of politeness in Japanese.  But there is no polite expression in Japanese directly aligned with friendliness, so ス体has spread across the spectrum to fill the niche. For instance, in a Japanese sports club at school, age plays an important role.  Kouhai (後輩 junior) must show respect to “senpai” (先輩 senior).  A kouhai can use ス体 to address his senpai to show his respect and friendliness at the same time.  Sejiri, however, used ス体 to his junior, which was new, according to Prof. Nakamura. I believe that is because the relationship between 後輩 and 先輩 is much looser or even non-existent in such new sports as skateboard, while it is almost militaristic in such sports as baseball.

Slang/slangish pronunciation 
アツーイ
atsu-i
Hot
乗ってきたあ
nottekitaa
getting in a mood
すっげえー
sugge-
awesome
やべえ、やっばー
yabee, yabba-
unbelievable (good or bad)
めちゃめちゃうめえ mechamecha ume mechamecha is “insanely”, umee (umai) is “good at”
キタキタ、キター!
kitakita, kita-!
exclamation to use when something you are waiting is happening
ビッタビタで
bitta bittade
completely
ハンパねえ
hanpane-
awesome, incredible
鬼やばい 
oni yabai
oni=demon, meaning “extremely”, yabai meaning unbelievable (good or bad)
ゴン攻め 
gonzeme
According to Sejiri, it means “gangan semeru” meaning “attack aggressively, take a risk”

Native speakers could understand him without any problems, especially from the context.  But “ゴン攻め” (gon zeme) was one term that the announcer Kurata had to ask Sejiri to explain, and now “ゴン攻め” has become a trendy word. It is expected that it would make it to a list of words of the year.

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

So there.  Some more words and expressions to use to be cool! But always be careful when you use slang or ス体 as they may not be appropriate in certain or many situations.

You can search more on Sejiri’s comments on Youtube.

 

 

 

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