More and more foreigners claim to be speaking ‘Naomi-bushi’ rather than admit that they are really just shit at Japanese.
The word ‘Naomi-bushi’, meaning ‘Naomi-esque’, refers to the cute, but un-proficient way that mixed-heritage tennis star Naomi Osaka speaks Japanese, and was one the most popular words in Japan in 2018 as television commentators and young people alike were charmed by her adorable way of speaking.
But it is not just with the Japanese that Osaka is proving influential, with a number of gaijin saying that they too are speaking in this endearing way.
Simon Poulter, a Briton who has lived in Nagoya for seven years but gave up his Japanese lessons after one year when they interrupted his busy drinking schedule, has claimed to his frustrated girlfriend that his stilted Japanese is actually Naomi-bushi.
“My girlfriend is always going on about how cute Naomi is, and that the way that she speaks is really kawaii. But when I once again say ‘itadakimasu’ when I mean ‘gochisousamadeshita’, or when I can’t remember the word for ‘Thursday’, she gets angry at me and threatens to move back home with her mum. I try to tell her that I’m actually just being cute like Naomi, but she usually mutters something along the lines that she never should have left her ex, because he had JLPT N2.
“Or at least I think that’s what she’s saying. My Japanese is awful; for all I know she could be listing a recipe for takoyaki. But if she is, by the sounds of it, she must really hate that Takoyaki.”