07 February 2007

How to Say Thong in Japanese

Today, when i was kicking it with emi, my japanese law school friend i practice japanese with every week (and also teach american slang to), she pretty much dropped a bomb on my head. she told me most of the words in my textbook for pants, underwear and shorts are all wrong. man, this blows. i'm learning ancient history posing as cross-culture. for example: in my textbook we learned that ズボン (zubon) is the word for pants and パンツ (pantsu) is the word for shorts or underwear. but, as emi told me, in MODERN DAY JAPAN, only baby boomers really use zubon for pants, which, makes sense, it's a weird word. NOW, emi told me, パンツ (pantsu) means, well, pants and ズボン (zubon) means, "i'm old." but it gets weirder: the word for knee length shorts is actually ハーフパンツ(haafupantsu--half pants, bitches), the word for short shorts is タンパン (tanpan--a word that looks VERY close to tampon), but the word for underwear is now シヨーツ (shoutsu).

In summary:

pants used to mean underwear or shorts, but now it means, well, pants
zubon means I'M RETIRED
half-pants mean long shorts
tampon means short shorts
and shorts, which now means underwear, not shorts, is the new way to say an old word that USED to mean both shorts AND underwear, but not anymore.

And, to top things off, the way to say thong in japanese is T-バック (T-bakku or T-back). i thought this was hilarious. emisan asked me in japanese why i was laughing:

--Why are you laughing? she said, but in japanese, just like that.
--Well, t-back sounds like a type of steak, like t-bone, or something you get at chilis, like baby t-back ribs or something. . .
--But that's not what's funny. the funny thing is, the word back, for many black americans, means "large ass," as in the lyrics "baby got back."
--Yeah, it's also really popular in hip-hop slang.
--So basically, your word for thong means, T-BIG ASS.
We both laughed about that one.

Once called thong, now called T-BIG ASS

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