Tuesday, February 12, 2008


KY Slang

wind godWhen Shinzo Abe was criticized in the media (which was often) he was often described as: kuuki ga yomenai, or being unable to read the air. In other words, he was missing that sense of what was needed in a social situation, an essential trait for Japanese. Did an elderly person need to use the toilet? Did guests need a pick me up in the form of tea? Or did they want a drink drink? Shinzo Abe was missing the antenna which would have directed him on what to do. And how much more of a problem is it for a politician to be unable to read the air when he must sense what large numbers of people want: reform, jobs, distraction, all of the above.

Funnily enough, Abe's reading comprehension problems were so severe and so often mentioned, that kuuki ga yomenai got its own abbreviation. You know how "personal computer" is "pasocon" and "television" is "terebi"? Kuuki ga yomenai is referred to as "KY," as in "He's so KY" or "That's so KY." I think it's linguistically interesting--and obviously funny--that a Japanese term is abbreviated via its romanized letters. And obviously one thinks of something other than air when the letters K and Y appear side by side.

Posted at Japundit.

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