Fall is almost here, but it’s still grotesquely hot and humid in Japan. We’re still seeing the same pattern in our writer poll – shows tend to be all or nothing (either listed as #1 or not at all). Does that mean it’s a more divisive season than normal in terms of opinion? Could be – but to sneak preview the sneak preview, I suspect fall is going to be a very different season, with votes spread out much more widely.
“Ask the Writers” is back with a straightforward (seeming) question – “What’s your Japanese personal pronoun of choice, and why?” It’s the nature of the language that this is both a personal and sometimes rather difficult decision, and once you make it, it’s awfully hard to shake it…
Weekly Staff Poll
Ask The Writers
What’s your Japanese personal pronoun of choice – and why?
- Zaiden: I would choose Boku. But Boku no Pico has ruined that for me. So I’ll settle for ore, in the sense of ‘Ore wa oppai ga suki’.
- Takaii: Pronoun: 私 (Watashi). I unfortunately have never used any other ones in real life but if I were to pick one I’d definitely lean toward 僕 (Boku) since I’m not really a 俺 (Ore) kind of guy. (Editor’s note: D’aww)
- Choya: I have been partial to “Ore” for the superficial reason of having the pronoun associated with the old “Ore wa Jack Bauer” commercials that aired ages ago, in which Koyama Rikiya sings a ballad in homage to 24‘s main protagonist. “Boku” is pretty easy to say as well so I’m not too picky about which one I go with. I guess it’ll be whichever I end up picking up when I brush up on basic conversational Japanese.
- Pancakes: As for pronouns my Canadian sensibility demands boku because polite Canadian eh! Also because I look too damn young to be slinging ore around in a professional environment and sound convincing in the process.
- Stars: As far as pronouns go, I distinctly remember testing out ‘ore’ and ‘boku’ during Japanese lessons, but ended up sticking with ‘watashi’ since it was the most neutral pronoun to use. Even now, I think I’d default to ‘watashi.’ No one has anything to say about ‘watashi’ but strut around with ‘ore-sama’ on your lips and you best be some kind of larger-than-life trickster god.
- Stilts: Ore-sama, because I’m a larger-than-life trickster god. (Post author’s note: applying our own honorifics are we – and “-sama” to boot?) (Stilts bonus note: Ya damn right.)
- Passerby: If we’re talking about favourite pronoun, mine is probably ‘jibun’. In a language filled with layers of purposeful ambiguity and ritualised semantics ‘jibun’ is singularly unique in grammatical function (but even then, serves two. Why, Japan?) and has the highest probability of actually being correct without getting the side-eye for being a dirty gaijin.
- Guardian Enzo: This one is, to me, a lot harder than it sounds. I started out with “Watashi” but for a guy, that’s just too “foreign student” in my mind. So I was faced with the eternal dude dilemma – “Boku” or “Ore”? Honesty compels me to answer this way – part of me wants to be an “Ore” but the truth is I’m a “Boku”. (Posited: every boku wishes they were an ore at some point, but very few ores ever think about being anything else.)