The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on what is, was and will be. With regard to language, one of the most stimulating things I have recently read in this respect was from an article in the journal Nihongogaku (日本語学) about a study in which Japanese university students were asked to name words and expressions they had recently started using or, what's at least as interesting, un-using.

The "it word" that was most frequently given by the students was nau (なう). It is derived from English "now," though as usual, its usage is, well, slightly different. It is a very popular expression on Twitter and other social network sites where people want to announce to the world what they are just doing: カラオケなう (karaoke nau, singing karaoke), すき家なう (Sukiya nau, eating at Sukiya, a gyūdon [beef on rice] chain restaurant), デートなう (dēto nau, on a date), お風呂なう (ofuro nau, having a bath), 興奮なう (kōfun nau, feeling excited) or 鬱なう (utsu nau, feeling depressed).

When the event to be reported is already past, nau doesn't work. In such cases, many people use the term wazu (from the English "was"), another instance of new Japanese that the students in the survey mentioned. For example, 忘年会わず (bōnenkai wazu, was at the yearend-party), which might be accompanied by an inebriated picture; 馬場わず (Baba wazu, was at Takadanobaba), or perhaps captioning a photo of an empty noodle bowl, ラーメンわず (was ramen).