January 30, 2009

Japanese Slang: Unibare

ユニバレ is a combination of two words:
  • ユニクロ (yunikuro, Uniqlo): a cheap clothing store chain
  • ばれる: letting the cat out of the bag

    Together, they create a new word, which means for someone to notice that you, ohmigosh!, bought your clothes at Uniqlo. This spells social death in Japan, but at the same time, with a bad economy and freeter lifestyles abounding, getting the cheap clothes of Uniqlo is a good way to survive. [source]
    Here's Uniqlo, trying to act all cool in a video, but we know they be posers:
    It's like Japan is one big junior high, making fun of you for wearing the wrong brand clothes. When I was in the 7th grade, I remember asking a guy if one could buy Stussy at K-mart. All the cool kids had Stussy shirts. This naive bumpkin question of mine became hot gossip around the school, and I was mortified. Why the hell did we all care about fashion at that age anyways? Normal teen anxiety? Or was it just my odd town?

    1. Oh my, I wear quite a bit of Uniqlo lol. It's strange how they look down on Uniqlo but love H&M which is basically just a western Uniqlo. Guess cause it's European

    2. Funny, just yesterday my students asked me where I buy my clothes and I happened to be wearing an entire outfit from Uniqlo. They laughed, not AT me but more of a "wow where do you find Uniqlo in America" because they haven't yet grasped the idea that I'm still in Japan when I leave work.

    3. lol, that's a hilarious analogy, Japan = high school

    4. Hm. I think it's interesting that shopping at Uniqlo isn't "cool" in Japan. Fast Retailing just opened up some Uniqlo stores in NYC and at the mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Some Uniqlo items have also been featured in numerous style columns, slide shows, etc. on the new york times website. It's a brand with an appeal to a higher-end client as well as having that "cool" factor, because it is from Japan.
      Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. Interesting post!!


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