* “J-WOTD” = “Japanese Word of the Day”
The beauty of the term Omiyage Gaiko is in its simplicity. Rather than being a complicated “4 character word” (四字熟語) it’s a neat little phrase that I saw for the first time being used on the television earlier this week. Yukio Hatoyama (鳩山 由紀夫) of the Democrats (not to be confused with his younger brother Kunio “a friend in my butterfly collecting club is from Al-Qaeda” Hatoyama (鳩山 邦夫) who is in the LDP coined this phrase a couple of weeks ago.
The two words that make up this phrase お土産 (omiyage, souvenir) and 外交 (gaiko, foreign policy) make an unusual combination. Hatoyama was using them to refer to Prime Minister Fukuda’s recent decision to force the refueling bill through the lower house without debate before his scheduled trip to America later this week. Hatoyama was implying that Fukuda didn’t have a decent souvenir from Japan to give to President Bush and so forced through the policy in order to give him something to talk to Bush with. As I’m sure you can guess, Hatoyama wasn’t too pleased that such an important policy for Japan was being dictated by Fukuda’s desire to come up with a topic of conversation in his upcoming conversation with Bush. I’m always a fan of smart politicians with the gift of the gab but this phrase tickled me enough to write it up as a J-WOTD.
“Hatoyama made it clear that as an independent country, Japan should show some balls and stop passing legislation just to please the United States or the world will begin to treat it like a vassal state of America.”
Oh, and just for fun, here is the video of 鳩山 邦夫 (Kunio Hatoyama) that we mentioned above, where he said, “A friend of a friend is a member of Al-Qaeda”:
See more about this J-WOTD here.