Cultural Differences: Japan Abandons Olympian Over Fashion

Topic started by gia on Feb. 19, 2010. Last post by gia 5 years, 1 month ago.
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Going a bit off-topic here, but Japan's media have been freaking out over Olympic snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo for his terrible crime: having dreadlocks, sunglasses (indoors), and a pierced nose. Oh, and wearing his pants low and not tucking in his shirt. Yup.
Hey, hey, don't go getting upset at the media! Did I mention that under his breath he called them "urusai" (annoying/noisy)? Yeah! What a jerk, right?

But seriously guys: according to the Guyjin, Kokubo was barred from attending the opening ceremonies and his own university issued a press release to talk about how much they disliked having such a poorly-dressed student at their school. ]

Of course, Japan hasn't lost sight of the gold: a few hours before Kokubo competed yesterday, another Olympic snowboarder (Chikako Fushimi) called Kokubo a genius and said that you have to be crazy to be good at snowboarding, which gave the media enough of an excuse to start saying good things about him again (usually by interviewing his friends).

Kokubo didn't win the medal, so I wonder how the Japanese media will cover him now? It's kinda crazy though. I mean, we're just happy when our Olympians don't get caught with a bong. (And even if they do, we'll still forgive 'em for the next Olympics.)
Post by Black_Rose (1,204 posts) See mini bio Level 11
If i'm not mistaken, Urusai means shut up, not annoying. 
Post by crusader8463 (739 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed stupid things like this becoming more common place these days? It seems the world is going back to this idea that unless your some prim and proper person who doesn't indulge in anything that isn't even remotely taboo, in any shape way or form, your a horrible person. It just seems like ever week or two i have been reading about some one getting persecuted by others; because of the way they look, their opinions on something or an interest in something that not everyone would like.
Post by Kris (130 posts) See mini bio Level 7
@crusader8463: I don't know.... I think if you're representing your country, you should have the decency to pull your pants up.....  Otherwise, it's like you don't care, and it comes across as disrespectful.  People don't show up at funerals in cut-off shorts and wife-beaters, you know?  I kind of think they have a right to say  "stop dressing like a slob, because you are representing our country."
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
@Black_Rose: It's frequently translated as such, but "urusai" is actually an -i adjective (like "kawaii," "sugoi," "hidoi," etc), and it means obnoxious, loud, noisy, etc.  
The reason why it's often translated as "shut up" is simply a cultural/linguistic difference. In Japan you say something relatively passive, like "you're loud and annoying," in hopes that it will cause that person to stop being loud in annoying. In English, you say "STFU, John!" So they're sort of culturally synonymous, but not literally.
In this case, Kokubo was being passive-aggressive, muttering that the press was being annoying and loud without saying it directly to them, so I would personally translate it in the "annoying" sense rather than "shut up." Picture an early teenager responding to a parent: "Okay, mom, I get it, jeez, I'll do my homework. [Under his/her breath] You're so annoying!" It's that same passive-aggressive where they don't want to be saying that directly TO the parent while still conveying the idea. 
If you want another example: The "urusei" in Urusei Yatsura is an even more rude way to say "urusai" (Ichigo from Bleach does tind of slang a lot). The series' title is usually translated as "Those Obnoxious Aliens." :) (Although there's no "alien" in the title-- Yatsura is just a rude way to say "those people." But it's referring to the aliens who show up in the first chapter, soo...) 
I kinda overdid it, didn't I? ^^;
Post by Black_Rose (1,204 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Nope, thanks for clearing that up.  

Post by Konanda (796 posts) See mini bio Level 17
Naw pretty sure they were just having a slow news day across the Pacific.
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
@Konanda: Could be, could be.
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