Tokyo Damage Report


Every language has its "dude" ; its ‘word of a thousand uses.’ Jews have "oy", African-americans (and, to some extent, Italian-americans) have ‘yo!’, and in Japan, most folks will tell you that ‘domo’ or ‘ne?’ is the equivalent. But I say, ‘GANBATTE’ is the shizzle.

It means TRY YOUR BEST! Or GOOD LUCK! It is usually used in schools, say, before a test. You’ll tell your classmate ‘ganbatte’ and he’ll reply ‘ganbarimasu!’ ("I’ll do my best!")

Granted, something this specific can’t be used in so many contexts as ‘domo’ or ‘dooood,’ but, for sheer VOLUME OF WORDS that can be expressed by one simple phrase, nothing beats ‘ganbatte.’ As these examples will surely show:

To a homeless guy: GANBATTE ("be the best homeless, living-in-a-cardboard-box-begging-for-change guy you can be!")

To the streetwalker grabbing the arms of passing salarimen as they struggle to escape: GANBATTE ("I’m rooting for you! you can do it! I’m sure with a little more effort you’ll be on your knees in no time flat!")

To the guy chatting up the lady in the nightclub: GANBATTE! ("you’re so slick! I’m sure you could have totally slept with that girl until I made you self conscious!")

To the cockroach skittering down the gutter: GANBATTE! ("good luck! You can be the best roach ever if you only try a little harder to eat trash and creep people out more!")

To the trendy girls walking around with sunglasses at night and $4,000 worth of designer handbags, etc: GANBATTE! ("yes! I acknowledges that you’re trying really really really hard! Maybe some movie star or fashion magazine will discover you because you bought the same overpriced purse that a hundred other girls with credit card debt also bought, but he notices you’re special! Good luck with that!!")

To the Scout-boys, the Pushers, and the Pervs: GANBATTE

To the publicly-urinating, vomiting, openly weeping drunks: GANBATTE!

To everyone else: GANBATTE, GANBATTE, GANBATTE!!!!

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  1. Tokyo Godfather September 2nd, 2009 12:35 am

    To the Japanese women CARRYING their dogs instead of walking them: GANBATTE! (“I’m sure that YOUR miniature long-haired Daschund is more fragile than the millions of other long-haired Daschunds that every other Japanese woman and their step-grandmother owns”)

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