[ Asian Word of the Week ]

[ SOJU ]
pronounced: show-joo
origin: Korea

Defined by Wikipedia:

1. A distilled beverage native to Korea. Its taste is comparable to vodka, though often slightly sweeter due to sugars added in the manufacturing process. 2. Though it is traditionally made from rice, most modern producers of soju use supplements or even replace rice with other starches, such as potatoes, wheat, barley, sweet potatoes, or tapioca.

Alcohol equivalent to vodka or sake (more closely to sake because it is made out of rice). Soju literally translates to "burned liquor." Even though there is a population of Koreans here in MN, I haven't been able to to find actual soju...there is a Korean grocery store I have yet to go to, they might have something there.

pronounced: tah-mah-got-chi
Origin: Japan

Defined by Wikipedia:

1.A Tamagotchi is a keychain-sized virtual pet simulation game for children. 2.combining the Japanese word "たまご" (tamago), which means "egg", and the English word "watch"(ウオッチ uocchi). 3.Tamagotchis are a small alien species that deposited an egg on Earth to see what life was like, and it is up to the player to raise the egg into an adult creature.[3] The creature goes through several stages of growth, and will develop differently depending on the care the player provides, with better care resulting in an adult creature that is smarter, happier, and requires less attention.

Does everyone remember Tamagotchis?! They were huge in like, 1996, every kid wanted them and every kid needed them. I remember they got banned in school because they were distracting (along with Pokemon cards) There were also several knock-offs, but what you really wanted was the real Tamagotchi by Bandai. To be honest, I was never very good at raising mine, my pet always seem to die before the full two weeks was up and then I damaged my egg thing by dropping it in a bowl of soup ^-^; So so sad...

pronounced: mahn-gah and mahn-wah
Origin: Japan/Korea

Defined by UrbanDictionary.Com:

1.Japanese comic books/graphic novels. The word literally means "whimsical pictures" in Japanese. 2.There are 6-7 major types of manga, each having its own audience. Kodomo manga is for children. Shonen manga is for boys ages 12-18 , Shoujo manga is for gilrs age 12-18. Josei manga is for adult ladies above the age of 20, mainly working women. Seinen manga is for young men between the ages of 18 and 30, and Hentai manga is pornographic, adult manga. 3.Manhwa is comic/graphic novels produced in Korea by Korean artists/authors.

To be honest, I've read a lot of manga including Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. Yeah, I'm a nerd but I guess everyone has their own dark secrets...Most Americans think manga is cartoon porn. Sure, there is a specific genre just for that, but it is not every manga series out there. Many Japanese/Korean dramas and movies are directly taken from manga stories and are immensely popular.

pronounced: pok-ki
Origin: Japan

Defined by Wikipedia:

1.a Japanese snack food produced by the Ezaki Glico Company of Japan. Pocky was first sold in 1966, and consists of a biscuit stick coated with chocolate. It was named after the Japanese onomatopoetic word for the sound Pocky makes when bitten, pokkin (ポッキン).

Pocky is my favorite! I love it! Chocolate is the best! You can also get strawberry, vanilla and special ones with almond crunches. Word of advice, even though US grocery stores now carry Pocky in the "Ethnic Foods" sections, it's really expensive and it shouldn't be! Go to your nearest Asian grocery store and you can get the regular sized boxes for $0.99 or less! Don't be paying $1.99 for a box of Pocky. Pocky is worldwide! In Europe, it was renamed to Mikado. In Malaysia it was changed to Rocky and in South Korea there is a similar product called Pepero.

pronounced: oh-nee-gi-ri
origin: Japan

Defined by Wikipedia:

1.Also known as omusubi (お結び; おむすび?) or rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (umeboshi), salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative. 2.In Korean, it is called "jumeok bap" (Hangul: 주먹밥) or "samgak gimbap" (Hangul: 삼각김밥), literally "fist-rice" or "triangle-seaweed-rice," respectively.

Never had it, want to make it, seen it some really cute bento boxes. Give it to me! I guess, I'll have to try and make some! Yay! Really cute ones have faces on them made with seaweed and the shapes are perfect. I'm not sure if I have to skill to make them so nice. ^-^;

pronounced: mah-chong
origin: China

Defined by Wikipedia:

1.Mahjong is a game that originated in China, commonly played by four players (with some three-player variations found in Korea and Japan). 2.Similar to the Western card game rummy, mahjong is a game of skill, strategy and calculation and involves a certain degree of chance.

When I come across Mahjong, I always think of a bunch of old people playing at a table, drinking until wee hours of the night. Or..or of Chinese comedy movies. I actually have a Mahjong set I received as a Christmas present and I have yet to crack it open and learn! I will! I swear I will learn to play!

pronounced: kah-wah-ee
origin: Japan

Defined by UrbanDictionary.Com:

1. An adjective in Japanese meaning "pretty, cute, lovely, charming, dear, darling, pet" It's stem is two kanji meaning "can love". It is commonly used by anime and manga fans.

I use this work all the time! Even now...especially with my little bro! We run around yelling kawaii! Kawaii! Kawaii! About girls, pets and cute things in general.

pronounced: oh-tah-kew
origin: Japan

Defined by UrbanDictionary.Com:

1. Otaku is a Japanese word for house. 2. Refers to someone who has a devotion to a subject or hobby (not necessarily anime) to the point of not leaving home.

For me, otakus are crazy anime and manga people who cosplay/obsess over Japanese culture. They collect Pokemon, Yugioh cards and even play geek stuff like Magic cards. So yes it extends to more than just Asian things. They're White, Black, Asian anyone who is overly obsessed!

pronounced: gang-goo-roh
origin: Japan

Defined by:

1. An alternative fashion trend of blonde or orange hair and tanned skin among young Japanese women. 2. The term is a portmanteau of the Japanese word gangankuro "ガンガン黒", meaning extremely dark, and guro "グロ", meaning grotesque, and the word ganguro translates to "blackface" or "charbroiled face", meaning heavily-sunburned face.

The Ganguro fashion scene is quite intense. Orange clown make-up and bright neon hair has never looked so terrifying. I wonder what it's like taking all that off at the end of the night??? Young teenage women take on this look in rebellion to traditional Japanese society. You can find many Ganguro's in Tokyo's Shibuya and Ikebukuro districts. There are even guy version of Ganguros! I think they're called "center guys?" O.o

pronounced: ag-yeoh
origin: Korea

Defined by Urban Dictionary.Com:

1. A korean word that derives from the Chinese characters "love (ae)" and "beautiful (gyo)". 2. generally attributed to women who can charm men and elders through a careful balance of sweetness, cuteness, poutiness, modesty, thoughtfulness, and submissiveness.

HUGE thing in Korea. Honestly, it can get over the top very quick. I really hope there are not guys out there who really really enjoy this kind of "adorableness." Actually, I've tried some of this, not to the extremes...I've gotten varied results. The best way to explain aegyo is to show you an example of it. There are a lot of female and male examples of aegyo, SNSD's Sunny is notorious for aegyo that gives you goosebumps or aegyo that makes you want to hit her over the head.

pronounced: net-ee-zen
origin: Korea

Defined by Urban Dictionary.Com:

1. This word is a variant on citizen. 2. A person who interacts with others on the internet.

I guess I would consider myself a netizen...though I only think a true netizen is someone who is on the borderline obsessive or stalker-ish. ^-^; I never heard this term before getting exposed to a lot of Korean stuff, so I believe it's mostly used in the Korean entertainment industry. Netizens have the power to support or ruin idols, create scandals and dig deeper and deeper into the private lives of idols.

pronounced: uhl-jang
origin: Korea

Defined by Urban Dictionary.Com:

1. A Korean term that translates to "best face" or "good looking." 2. Eyes being the main focus and concept of the look. They usually use lots of products to make their eyes very large, such as eyelid glue, Korean cosmetic circle lenses, eyeliner, long fake eyelashes, etc. They also usually have fair skin, a small nose and thin small lips, just like anime characters. 3. They use a lot of editing websites such as Photoshop and Haduri to edit their pictures to make them even more prettier.

It predominates in Korea, but there's also these types of photos in Japan, China and the US! Kind of like how we have the "duck-face" fad, Korea's is the "ulzzang" face. While most people are creeped out by such large and cartoon-like eyes, there are some who find them incredibly cute and attractive~~~ All in all, the ulzzang look has become more a specific style or fashion statement.

[ OMO ]
pronounced: oh-mo
origin: Korea

Defined by Urban Dictionary.Com:

1. Meaning Oh My! Usually used by those who speak the Korean language or wannabe Koreans who watch Kdramas all day.

Kinda like saying O-M-G or Oh my Gosh, just say Omo! Shortens it considerdably and it's actually a really cool sounding non-word. There were some other definitions that were also listed on Urban Dictionary that were really funny. Like: The odd man out (unfavorable to men) or Oh My Oprah! Generally, I've only heard it in dramas and some Korean reality shows. When someone wants to do slapstick or be over dramatic you just add a bunch of "OMOS!"

pronounced: sell-caw
origin: Korea

Defined by Urban Dictionary.Com:

1. A Self-Cam picture. ie a picture of yourself taken by yourself. Not professionally. 2. A collection of pictures of oneself. 3. The English words SELF and CAPTURE put together.

Idols and non-idols have tons of selcas, all ranging from scary to funny to down right adorable. Generally, selcas involve just the person in the picture; using one hand to hold out the camera and take the picture. Nowadays I've been seeing some taken with a little bit of help. I have also started seeing more and more selcas posted in series style.

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