Skater Words hit the National TV Posted by eriko1 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 Form||What the Announcer Said|
(often with "ねえ” *1)
|What Sejiri （commentator）said with っす体|
It is so
Isn't it good?
Great as expected
It's so cool.
It's true, indeed
It's dangerous, risky.
*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.
|getting in a mood|
|unbelievable (good or bad)|
|めちゃめちゃうめえ mechamecha ume||mechamecha is “insanely”, umee (umai) is “good at”|
|exclamation to use when something you are waiting is happening|
|oni=demon, meaning “extremely”, yabai meaning unbelievable (good or bad)|
|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.
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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