Popular online dictionary site  asked its Japanese users to nominate an “English vocabulary word of the Year”. The top ten results show the hot topics of interest in Japan in 2015.
  1. Refugee (178 respondents)
    Chosen as Germany’s Word of the Year for 2015, “refugee” is a word that’s really been brought to attention on the world stage this year. The increase in refugees has become a pressing issue around the world, as the civil war in Syria continues to displace an unprecedented number of people.
  2. Right to collective defense (141 respondents)
    “Shudantekijieiken,” or “right to collective defense”, is another topic of concern in Japan, following the passage of security bills in September by the Upper House of the Diet. The new laws mean the nation’s Self Defense Forces can now assist the United States and other allies abroad in the event of an armed attack, even if Japan is not directly under threat.
3. Heavy buying (71 respondents)
The Japanese word “bakugai,” literally “explosive buying” but translated to “heavy buying”, flooded news reports in Japan in 2015, when an increasing number of Chinese tourists were found to be visiting Japan for the purpose of shopping in bulk, mostly to re-sell back in their homeland. The four main “must-buy” items turned out to be electric rice cookers, kitchen knives, thermoses, and smart-toilets.
The remaining English words filling out the top 10 are:
  1. Drone
    A word which made the news most notably when one was found on the roof of the Prime Minister’s residence in April, containing a radioactive substance.
  2. National Identification Number
    Otherwise known as “My Number”, is a controversial new national identification system for social security and taxation purposes.
  3. Routine
    The katakana version of this word made the news thanks to Japan’s rugby hero Ayumu Goromaru, who inspired fans in Japan with his goal-kicking skills and signature hand pose, a “routine” which he developed with help from a Japanese sports psychologist.
  4. Natural disaster
    In September, rain from Typhoon Etau caused the Kinugawa River in Ibaraki to break its banks, washing away houses and affecting 6,500 homes and businesses. Media coverage of the scene, including images of residents stranded on rooftops, served as a reminder of the threat of natural disaster in Japan.
  5. Trans-Pacific Partnership
    Despite public opposition, a trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries was finalised on October 5 this year, after seven years of negotiations.
  6. Forgery
    A high-rise apartment building in Yokohama with 705 units made the news this year after it was found that construction records had been falsified, resulting in sloped floors, gaps in doors, and enraged residents.
  7. Selfie
    Because well, who hasn’t taken a selfie? In Japan, high school girls really got into the trend this year.
nominate – recommend ; suggest
pressing – urgent or ​needing to be ​dealt with ​immediately
displace – force (someone) to leave his/her home, typically because of war, persecution, or natural disaster
unprecedented – never done or known before
in bulk – in ​large ​amounts
controversial – causing ​disagreement or ​discussion
stranded – unable to ​leave ​somewhere because of a ​problem such as not having any ​transport or ​money
enraged – very angry
Comprehension Questions;
1. What word is Germany’s Word of the Year for 2015?
2. According to the article above, what does right to collective defense mean (specifically for Japan)?
3. What are the four main “must-buy” items in Japan in 2015?
4. Why has the word “drone” managed to make the news in Japan in 2015?
5. According to the article above, what’s the story behind the word “routine”?
Discussion Questions:
1. Do you agree with the number 1 word on the list above? Why or why not?
2. Which word/s above are you not familiar with?
3. Which word above do you think shouldn’t be on the top 10 list? Why?
4. Which for you has been the most controversial news in Japan in 2015?
5. What word do you think should be in the list above but isn’t? Discuss.

尚、上の10語以外で私の印象に深く残ったのは、comfortable  woman (慰安婦)でした。comfortable
 このように、英語では、単に単語さえわかればよいというものでなく、単語以外に、熟語(イディオム---若者言葉で多く使われ、中高年者には馴染みが薄い傾向にある)そしてこのcomfortable  woman のようないわゆる用語(term)で構成されており、それらすべてを習熟しなければ使えるようにならないという事は、まさに気の遠くなる作業ですね。