You know you’re old when the slang expressions so fashionable in your youth go right over the heads of 22-year-olds who stare blankly as though you’ve just spoken to them in ancient Egyptian. One remembers a time when mecchanko (extremely superduper) was the adjective of the day, used to describe everything from ramen to the cute guy in 10th grade. This was then replaced by the shortened meccha and later obliterated in favor of cho (which for some reason had to be enunciated in a high-pitched voice) and then later, cho (said in an ordinary voice). Ours is not to reason why; ours is to simply switch voice tones. And remind ourselves that, after all, the characters for ryuko (fashion) stand for “flow” and “go.”
It is with great relief that one stumbles upon a word that has remained unchanged in meaning and pronunciation for the past 40 years. Yankii (stress on the second syllable) is one such example. No matter how much the world moves on, yankii remain the same. They’ll probably outlast the Jiminto (Liberal Democratic Party) and they deserve to. For the yankii are one of the most tradition-bound segments of the Japanese populace.
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