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561

San-chan-sama-baba-kun-dono-senpai
Topic by: roadwarrior
Posted: May 15, 2005 - 4:31 PM PDT
Last Reply: May 17, 2005 - 1:03 PM PDT

author topic: San-chan-sama-baba-kun-dono-senpai
roadwarrior
post #1  on May 15, 2005 - 4:31 PM PDT  
... and probably two or three others I forgot to include.

Somebody has got to have already posted the link to the definitive webpage regarding usage... or spelled it all out here somewhere.

Onegai!

To stop my head from spinning... err... I mean a retread from blowing out...

R.
hamano
post #2  on May 15, 2005 - 4:53 PM PDT  
What's a -baba?

Basic guide

Similar, with some different details

Maybe -baba is in here...

JAPbasics!

From TV Tropes

Leave it to the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) to offer a primer on the feudal honorifics! ^_^

All you need to know for your first trip to Japan.

If you have any specific questions that aren't covered in those pages, you can post them here and I'll try to clear them up for you. -baba... still can't figure that out... Babaa is a very rude way to say "old lady"... -baasan would be more polite. Or O-baasan. O-baasama would be super polite.
hamano
post #3  on May 15, 2005 - 4:55 PM PDT  
Oh, I call my grandmother O-baa-chan which is probably the most common way... a bit informal, but we're family...
roadwarrior
post #4  on May 15, 2005 - 6:13 PM PDT  
> On May 15, 2005 - 4:53 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What's a -baba?
>
I've seen it a lot in reference to an older woman... perhaps she's the age of grandmother, but not technically so? or something similar?


Thanx for the refs...

R.
hamano
post #5  on May 15, 2005 - 6:52 PM PDT  
> On May 15, 2005 - 6:13 PM PDT roadwarrior wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On May 15, 2005 - 4:53 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > What's a -baba?
> >
> I've seen it a lot in reference to an older woman... perhaps she's the age of grandmother, but not technically so? or something similar?

In that case -baba or -babaa is USUALLY a rude way to call someone an old lady. There ARE some exceptions, when using this form is NOT insulting. For example, if the woman has named herself Something-babaa. Or if it's used as a sort of title, the way Crone has come to have a special meaning in English. Yubaba and Zeniba in Spirited Away would be an example of that. This is most often seen in a period or supernatural context.

Monsters and demons who take the appearance of a crone or hag often have -baba or a variation in their names.
Sunakake-babaa (Sand throwing hag)
Yamanba (Mountain Hag)
Onibaba (Demon Hag)

However, if you see someone in a modern context calling a woman's name with the -baba or -babaa ending (or just calling her Babaa! (Hag!) it's usually a bully throwing an insult. Example: Kono kuso-babaa! which is the equivalent of "You shitty old hag!"

Here's a film called Babaa-Zone... Even if you can't read Japanese, you can tell by the picture that the word's not really being used in a complimentary manner. Apparently the film is a series of rude comic sketches.
hamano
post #6  on May 15, 2005 - 7:01 PM PDT  
By the way, there's a teen Gals subculture in Japan called Yamanba, or YamanbaGirls... Bleached hair, dark makeup or tan, light lipstick. The name comes from the folktale Yamanba (Mountain Hag) as depicted in traditional stage drama.
roadwarrior
post #7  on May 16, 2005 - 7:56 AM PDT  
> On May 15, 2005 - 7:01 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> By the way, there's a teen Gals subculture in Japan called Yamanba, or YamanbaGirls... Bleached hair, dark makeup or tan, light lipstick. The name comes from the folktale Yamanba (Mountain Hag) as depicted in traditional stage drama.
> ---------------------------------


That begs the question...

I'm watching "Ai Yori Aoshi" (Tina is a hoot!), and one of the themes is the difficulty Aoshi has in adjusting to a newer, hipper Japan, since she was raised in a quite traditional manner. When visiting her boyfriend's university for the first time, she was greeted with amazement by some of the students because of her traditional garb and mannerisms.

Will the whole notion of honorific subtleties with regard to proper usage become a non-issue a generation from now as those born after the "cultural revolution" (first McDonalds opens in Tokyo) pay less and less attention (or ignores them completely)?

I'd like to know if anyone is aware of any films (documentaries are o.k. too) that have addressed this issue.

Thanx,

R.
hamano
post #8  on May 16, 2005 - 9:51 AM PDT  
> On May 16, 2005 - 7:56 AM PDT roadwarrior wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I'd like to know if anyone is aware of any films (documentaries are o.k. too) that have addressed this issue.

You often hear comments like, "You talk like my grandmother" about characters like Aoi. Of course she speaks a highly correct and formal type of Japanese that sounds "old fashioned"... The US is at the extreme other end of this type of stratification in speech, where Ronald Reagan famously insisted on being on a first name basis with "Yasu" (former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone).

That said, the whole idea of honorifics and different politeness levels is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. If anything it's a handy shorthand to use in literature and films and stuff to instantly give a character some "background"...

I don't see any big move to get rid of these honorifics now... people generally like to use them, and artists exploit them. Also, I think Japanese have found out that they can travel to places like the US to experience life outside of honorifics and politeness levels. They find it's refreshing on one level, and stressful in others. I think they generally feel that they don't want to fully "convert" to an informal society, when they can have it both ways.

Well maybe they're just lazy... it would be a lot of effort for Japanese to learn how to talk to each other without honorifics and politeness levels. It's not gonna go away any time soon. It's just too rich.
AFleming
post #9  on May 16, 2005 - 9:55 AM PDT  
> On May 16, 2005 - 7:56 AM PDT roadwarrior wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On May 15, 2005 - 7:01 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
>
> Will the whole notion of honorific subtleties with regard to proper usage become a non-issue a generation from now as those born after the "cultural revolution" (first McDonalds opens in Tokyo) pay less and less attention (or ignores them completely)?
>
> ---------------------------------

Read this the other day concerning the issue of manners in modern Japan. Interesting. What's your take on this hamano? In fansubs, ppl curse all the time. But then I rely on translations, but it seems the repetoire is more than 2.

It's rude to have infants? lol.

ahogue
post #10  on May 16, 2005 - 11:43 AM PDT  
> On May 15, 2005 - 7:01 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> By the way, there's a teen Gals subculture in Japan called Yamanba, or YamanbaGirls... Bleached hair, dark makeup or tan, light lipstick. The name comes from the folktale Yamanba (Mountain Hag) as depicted in traditional stage drama.
> ---------------------------------


Wow. That looks like something lifted from American R&B fashion.

There was a scene in NGE in which Rei calls Ritsuko's mother "Baba". It was pretty clear that this was meant as a heinous insult.
ahogue
post #11  on May 16, 2005 - 11:57 AM PDT  
> On May 16, 2005 - 9:55 AM PDT AFleming wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Read this the other day concerning the issue of manners in modern Japan. Interesting. What's your take on this hamano? In fansubs, ppl curse all the time. But then I rely on translations, but it seems the repetoire is more than 2.
>
> It's rude to have infants? lol.
>
>
> ---------------------------------

Interesting. One of the words I've picked up from watching anime is the one often translated as "Shit!". I have no idea how it would be spelled, but I'm sure Hamano knows what I mean. I've been wondering if that is an accurate translation, or whether the translators use "shit" as the nearest pragmatic English equivalent.
hamano
post #12  on May 16, 2005 - 1:03 PM PDT  
Well, the dynamics of intergenerational moral deterioration probably isn't THAT bad, especially compared to the US. This seems to be a result of the wild swings in the social pendulum as Japan rose out of the ashes of war.

The old lady in the article probably grew up during or just after the war. Remnants of the feudal/militarist system still remained, and people had to suffer through daily privations economically. Sometimes all they had to hang on to civilization were social rules. That would be my grandmother's generation... of course they're not ALL that strict. They mellowed out for the most part as Japan's economy grew stronger. But there are some curmudgeony old folks who are more the exception than the rule.

Then there was a generation of hard working folks, who performed the "economic miracle"... they get credit for that, but at home things weren't going so smoothly. They had a permissive attitude because they didn't want to enforce the strictness and hardship they experienced as children on their offspring. So they spoiled their kids, letting them do pretty much anything as long as they put themselves through the grind of the juken school system. Fathers, and sometimes also the mothers, were out late at work or drinking with their buddies.

These kids are today's young adults. A lot has happened in a half century since the war. I think incidents such as the one described in the article occur when one extreme (a strict oldster) happens to clash with the other extreme (young disaffected relatively affluent kids).

95% of the kids in Japan are like the ones you see in Azumanga Daioh, Beck, or Kare Kano, rather than the kids you see in GTO or Chromartie High. Every few years there's a kidnapping or murder of a young person that shocks everyone. There's nothing like Columbine and there are no Amber Alerts going off every month or so.

Relative to Japan of 20 years ago, maybe things have slid, but compared to this country the level of civil decency is still pretty high.

On the other hand, Japan isn't like Singapore either. In Singapore you can get jail time for spitting or chewing gum.
hamano
post #13  on May 16, 2005 - 1:11 PM PDT  
> On May 16, 2005 - 11:57 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Interesting. One of the words I've picked up from watching anime is the one often translated as "Shit!". I have no idea how it would be spelled, but I'm sure Hamano knows what I mean. I've been wondering if that is an accurate translation, or whether the translators use "shit" as the nearest pragmatic English equivalent.

Well, shit is shit, but it isn't. The Japanese seem to be more comfortable with bodily functions than Americans on one level, and more secretive on another. We'll casually talk about poop and pee, but you won't see many commercials for tampons, douches and stuff like that.

So a word like "kuso" is "shit" but it's not as "dirty" as "shit" is in America. It's more like crap or turd. I guess the way it's used in Japan it's about as bad or innocuous, depending on how you look at it, as Ray's Dad (Peter Boyle) yelling "CRAP" all the time on Everybody Loves Raymond. But that wouldn't be so "cool" for the American teenage audience, so they translate it as "shit"....

Weren't we talking about honorifics and politeness levels?
ahogue
post #14  on May 16, 2005 - 1:17 PM PDT  
> On May 16, 2005 - 1:11 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> Weren't we talking about honorifics and politeness levels?
> ---------------------------------

Kuso. That's it. Thanks.

Sorry, please do continue.
hamano
post #15  on May 16, 2005 - 1:27 PM PDT  
Here's a link for Eoliano...

They have the correct translation for Kusottare! which is one of the worst things you can call someone, literally shit-dripper. Another one you hear a lot is Chikushou which literally means beast or livestock...
roadwarrior
post #16  on May 17, 2005 - 7:32 AM PDT  
> On May 16, 2005 - 9:55 AM PDT AFleming wrote:

> Read this the other day concerning the issue of manners in modern Japan. Interesting. What's your take on this hamano? In fansubs, ppl curse all the time. But then I rely on translations, but it seems the repetoire is more than 2.
>
> It's rude to have infants? lol.
>
>
> ---------------------------------

From that article:

"Childishly inappropriate behaviour has infected Japan's political elite, as Junichiro Koizumi, the Prime Minister, revealed when he lectured a group of young MPs last year. 'Don't send e-mails on your cell phones or read comic books in parliament while in session,' he told them. 'You can be seen very clearly from the Prime Minister's seat. You should really stop that ...it's disgraceful.' "

If a lecture from the PM doesn't stem the tide (shouldn't he be able to kick some ass?), then what will? Everything should trickle down from the top (trickle-down theory... hah!), including the model for performance and behavior, but it seems the younger ministers have their heads elsewhere. Sure, it's only one news article and you can take it with a grain of salt, but nowhere was it reported that Koizumi DID anything other than complain.

So we all stand idly by and watch the ship take on water, patiently waiting for someone else to come along with the bailing buckets...

Interesting.

R.
Eoliano
post #17  on May 17, 2005 - 11:13 AM PDT  
> Here's a link for Eoliano...

Questi parole sono molto cattive e la mia amica giapponese non apprezza che tu insegnare queste parole a me, e dice tu merita una sculacciata, ma dura!
hamano
post #18  on May 17, 2005 - 12:16 PM PDT  
> On May 17, 2005 - 7:32 AM PDT roadwarrior wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> So we all stand idly by and watch the ship take on water, patiently waiting for someone else to come along with the bailing buckets...

Yeah, but by that measure the USS U.S.A. is sunk already. Putting metal detectors in schools ain't gonna plug the holes...
roadwarrior
post #19  on May 17, 2005 - 1:03 PM PDT  
> On May 17, 2005 - 12:16 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On May 17, 2005 - 7:32 AM PDT roadwarrior wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > So we all stand idly by and watch the ship take on water, patiently waiting for someone else to come along with the bailing buckets...
>
> Yeah, but by that measure the USS U.S.A. is sunk already. Putting metal detectors in schools ain't gonna plug the holes...
> ---------------------------------

Touché.

They're dredging now for the husk.

Incidently, the link for Eoliano, in an oddly serendipitous way, is worth the price of posting this topic. Now I can answer the boss with "Kusoyarou!", and when he asks, "What did you say?", I'll tell him it's a new frappucino flavor from Starbucks...

R.

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