How many of you have ever heard of the Japanese word ‘wasei eigo’? A direct translation into English would be “Japanese-made English”, but put more simply the word refers to English words that, after a little tampering, have been adopted into the modern Japanese lexicon and used on an everyday basis. Despite having their origins in English, wasei eigo words often have quite different meanings to those on which they are based. Consequently, Japanese visitors to English-speaking countries using terms like “baby car” and “key holder” — words that are thought to be “English” in Japan — are often met with raised eyebrows and blank stares from native English speakers.
So come with us now as we look at the top 20 wasei English words that cause Japanese people trouble when they break them out while abroad.