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- 1. apartment president. 2. assistant to the president
- or "Bakarashii"--the same as Bakateki.
(Submitted by Jim Taylor [firstname.lastname@example.org])
- Baka Switch
- Native Japanese (usually older) refusing to recognize that you're
speaking Japanese until you work with him to flip the switch. (In
response to confusion among RMs regarding the origin of Baka Switch,
Frank Kelland submitted the following:
The term "baka switch" is very old and was first used
right after WWII. A
guy named Seward, one of the first Beikokujin in Japan after the
war used it
in his book "Japanese in Action" describing the
necessary actions he had to
take to convince the Japanese that he spoke Japanese. He once had
an entire Imperial proclamation concerning education (something
Nipponjin had to memorize), to prove he could speak Japanese.
- to do something foolish, like make up a list of missionary slang
- worthless discussions of Bible scriptural interpretations with
Japanese Christians. Usually concluded by Elders quoting from the
Books of Moses and Abraham in "their Bible".
- See Green Bean
- a toilet.
- (See also Flusher, Plopper,
Sitter, Squatter, Dropper)
- Benny Ditch
- a trench alongside roads and paths, varying in depth, which has an
insatiable appetite for missionaries and their bikes. Should be
- Benny Truck
- See Honey Wagon
- to biff. to crash one's bike. "I really biffed it when I fell
in the benny ditch."
Although used as a shortened version of "Watakushi" by
males, it was also used to designate a teenaged or college-aged
male, usually spotted as a member of the cadre of uniformed
teenagers boisterously passing by you in a shoten. District Leader:
"How'd ya do today?" Reply: "Aw, nothin' much. Just
ran into a bunch of bokus..."
The female version of Boku is Triffid
is a term used to describe Japanese Punk... those purple, spiked
hair kids. Definitely from the early '80's jidai. (Submitted by
Jim Taylor [email@example.com]
Japan Kobe Mission)
- i.e. the Buch. the Dendobucho-san or Mission President. "Able
to leap tall buildings in a single bound, faster than a speeding
- See Buch
- the six month point in one's mission.
(See also Hump, Slump,
"Burning") See Dump
received from the honbu a few months prior to returning home
containing final instructions and and forms. Painstaking
filled out and returned to the Honbu, they would most commonly
arrive at your doorstep by your beloved "Jesse".
Upon opening the envelope you would typically find nothing but
charred ashes or the pages glued together. (the first set that is)
- 1. a senpai has been reduced to kohai. 2. A D.L. is reduced to
kohai. 3. be sent to the dendo honbu has a mission recorder.
(Submitted by George Takeshi Hara [firstname.lastname@example.org],
7 Sep 2000.)
- 1. a person who may have interest in hearing the discussions, i.e.
a potential investigator. 2. a guy or girl who may have interest in
you upon your return from the mission field.
- Companion Inventory
refers to a necessary meeting within a companionship to air out
grievances. (Submitted by George Takeshi Hara [email@example.com],
7 Sep 2000.)
- a very obnoxious skin infection, usually occurs during the hot
humid months. One Elder in Marugame once wrote home to his parents
and delicately tried to describe his condition (without using the
word). His mother, a nurse in the South Pacific during WWII, wrote
back "Son, it sounds like youâ€™ve got what we use to call the
- Cutback Night (archaic)
- A Wednesday night post-dendo celebration (when P-days were on
Thursdays) consisting of much feasting (mimis, ramen, Kirin Lemon,
etc) and watching old slides. Officially banned by mission decree in
- District Leader "Can jump over a hut, can fire a speeding
- District Training Meeting. A meeting held three days a week
(Tues., Thurs., Sat.) led by the D.L. or Z.L.,
who teach skills through example, experience, and guessing.
- Dendo Baby
- a layer of gluttonous matter which appears around one's midriff,
causing others to think you are with child (during proselyting in
- Dendo Bag
- something we used to carry all our flip charts, lessons, umbrella,
camera, dictionaries, and anything else that you could stuff in. It
was like a big shoulder bag. I think most of us got them up in
Toyooka, the bag city near the sea of Japan.
- to return home from a mission. "I'm dying soon."
"I'm almost dead."
- i.e. doryo. A fellow missionary that the Lord has you work with. A
person who you will spend more time with on a day to day basis than
you will with your future wife or husband.
- to be dogged. To be caused misery and grief through the actions of
another. "Jesse didn't bring me any mail.
He is 'dogging' me." "She hasn't written. She is 'dogging'
- a second-floor squatter
- "When I served in Aioi, we lived in a house that served as
the branch meeting house as well as our apartment. It was a two
story house with a restroom on the second story right above the
other one. There was just a hole in the ground. We called it a
"dropper". So, you had a sitter,
squatter or a dropper!"
- i.e. Jump, Burn The going home or "freedom
point" of one's mission (after eighteen months or two years) (See
also Bump, Hump, Slump,
- See Die
- Eigo Bandit
- people who strongly desire to improve their English skill. "Haro.
My name is (put your name here). I am a pen. I am Eigo Bandit. Do
- a one yen coin. Did you know that if you place an ernie in a glass
of water, it will float? Try it. Show your friends. (Made from
- Fetch (See also the earlier term
- a word of exclamation. "Fetch, Jesse didn't bring me any
- 1. a cool guy. 2. someone who does something silly or makes a
- See Fetch
ritual begun in Kakogawa circa 1993 to raise missionaries'
spirits after being fished/spoked. (Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org,
7 Feb 2001)
- Flick Out
- Contrary to the ban in 1974, on special occasions or bad evenings, the missionaries would get together and show slides from their
travels. (Submitted by Jeff Shoell
, Sept. 9, 2003)
- a benny with the luxury of plumbing.
- (See also Plopper, Sitter,
- See Jesse.
- Freedom Bird
- a large vehicle (i.e. airplane) which carries missionaries to
their families, friends, and checkbacks at the end of their mission
- as in "Let's frog," or "Let's leave." This
came from kaeru as in "kaeru [frog] no ko wa kaeru da"
transposed with kaeru [to leave] or "kaerĂ´" [let's
- The neighborhood public bath (sentĂ´); also a private bath (o-furo)
in a home or apartment.
- sometimes occurred during p-days. (Submitted by George Takeshi
7 Sep 2000.)
- Genki Futon
- an envelope missionaries use to mail cash from one address to
another (from Genkin Futo).
- i.e. Gokurosama. a missionary, or fellow human being, who works
above and beyond the call of duty.
- Gokiburi. Those lovely little (or sometimes huge) cockroaches
commonly infesting missionary dwellings. (Submitted by James
Ivie, Oct. 15, 2003)
is a goofy derivative of "Gokurosama deshita" with
reference to the ubiquitous gokiburi [cockroach].
(Submitted by Jim Taylor [email@example.com])
- Green Bean
- a distinctive and honorific title used for: 1. a missionary just
entering the Missionary Training Center. 2. a missionary who has
just arrived in-country, and who keeps this title until the first
- Harvest Month
- a month where each companion set in the mission has a goal of at
least one baptism. A month of goal setting, prayer, and fasting.
(Lots of prayer and fasting)
- Honey Wagon
- "I see a Honey Wagon." In the pre-1990's (in the bigger
cities or pre-2000's in smaller towns), it was/is THE warning to
plug one's nose when the ben remover arrived in the vicinity. Also
applicable to the pre-1960's when a horse drawn remover armed with
two buckets and a bamboo pole arrived in the Kansai area. (See
also Benny Truck)
- the twelve month point of one's mission (unless you are a sister
missionary which would be nine months). A day of feasting and
celebration. (See also Bump, Slump,
- the Japanese mailman. A man riding on a red scooter, wearing a
white helmet, who honorifically carries joy (i.e. cards, letters,
and packages) to the missionaries.
- Jesse is the name of the mailman in an old church movie called "the mailbox" or "the letter". It was a movie about this old lady that went out to her mailbox every day to see if her mailman "Jesse" had any mail for her. The irony of the movie was that when her children FINALLY wrote her a letter, it was about how they were going to put her in an old folks home. She died just as she was opening the letter.
This movie is pretty old, and was pretty well known in the 1970's since the church only had a handful of films. Elders would always feel like that old grandma, hoping for a letter from their families.
- Correction supplied by Rich
Hillyard 5-5-2003: The term is attributed to the BYU film
"The Mailbox"; however, that film is dated 1977 (not as
old as it seems), and the term "Jesse" was in use before
that (1974-76 for me). In addition, in the film "The Mailbox," the
mailman's name is "Mike", not "Jesse". I've also wondered about the origin of
"Jesse," but the film isn't it.
- See Dump
- A verb referring to "jan ken pon", i.e., the game of
"Rock, Paper, Scissors". The game used to decide
practically everything of consequence. "Hey! I'll jung ya for
that last mimi...!"
- Kanji Bandit
- a person/missionary who feverishly studies those squiggly little
lines (kanji) that actually really do mean something (or so I've
- Kansai Cruiser
- our wonderful 1-speed dendo bikes (this was before each missionary
was responsible for their own bike and transferred with it) See
also Mama Chari
- Kekko Box
- i.e. a call box. a fiendish torture device at doors which the
people in the home will use to say "No".
same as Kobamu as in "They
kekko'ed us" (meaning they weren't interested in talking with
us). From the Japanese reply, "kekko desu." (Submitted
by Jim Taylor [firstname.lastname@example.org])
- to be with a companion at the time he/she returns home. Usually
not to be taken literally. "I killed my dode."
very usable term meaning rejection, by 1. investigators 2.
stateside girlfriend. (Submitted by George Takeshi Hara [email@example.com],
7 Sep 2000.)
- Anglicized past tense of the Japanese verb komaru ("to
be distressed, in trouble, embarrassed," etc.), as in "I
was komarued when I couldn't get all my junk in that box for
- (kyudosha - investigator) slang term used only within the walls of
a missionary apartment when referring to a current investigator of
- an idiomatic intensive substituted in place of certain other, more
disagreeable terms when expressing a scornful, judgmental
interrogatory. Example: "What the MAHA is THAT?"
- 1-speed Japanese style bicycle. Fast on flat roads, but painful to go up hill on.
(Submitted by Vashon Kirkman) See also Kansai
- i.e. Majime. a very serious person or missionary. Usually meant in
a nice way. The opposite of "Wanpaku".
- a word of exclamation. "Man, mugi is delicious."
- Mimi pan
- The crust of the bread, either the whole sliced ends or the strips removed from sliced bread. Purchased from the local bakery---CHEAP. Missionaries usually recieve the look from the counter of "you want to buy WHAT?!" Can be prepared in a variety of ways--sandwich bread, toast, bread pudding, salted and toasted to look like french fries etc.
(Submitted by Shauna Gooch Foliaki)
- Missionary Baby
- See Dendo Baby
- Literally translated as "thing" in Japanese, this word
was used to mean a thing of mild scorn or repulsion. "You're
not gonna do your Branch jobs? You received scented letters from
your girlfriend? Aw, ya pickin' (fetchin')
- Followers of the Reverend Moon. Very difficult to approach
individually because they like to cluster in large groups.
- to receive (past tense). This Japlish is commonly used when
missionaries get something of value from others. ZL- "Where did
you guys get this brand new stereo from?" Wanpaku Elder-
"Oh, that? I moraued it from a triff at Eikaiwa... it would be
rude to not accept, right?!"
- The ("standard") Japanese word for wheat. Ground up mugi
is commonly cooked and served for breakfast.
- a period of time during a missionary's schedule which is not used
for proselyting. "Should be avoided." --The Buch
- term for investigators who quit the discussions. Elder: "I
had 5 investigators this week but they all nakunarued".
Japanese Ward Mission leader (with horror on his face): "Honto!"
- i.e. a great, big Baka. Someone who does something very silly or
- Obasanâ€™s Place
- a small streetside market, usually run by an elderly war widow.
The place where new green beans purchase their first (and last) an
- 1. a greeting in the morning. 2. a nickname for a fellow
missionary who greets all of his fellow missionaries with a happy
"Ohayo", and handshake, between the prayer and reading the
Book of Mormon during P.P.P.
- i.e. Preparation Day. a day once a week full of joy and
celebration (and sometimes used to prepare for the coming week).
Usually on Monday.
The same as Cutback Night. A time
(post 9:30 pm) when we'd relax, share food, or group-read a
girlfriend's letter or a New Era romance article. (There were a
couple!) (Submitted by Jim Taylor [firstname.lastname@example.org])
- i.e. Pick the Pitch and Pray. an everyday morning ritual in the
mission field where the missionaries in an apartment will gather
together, and one will pick a song, pray, read from the rule books,
and begin reading from the Book of Mormon.
- to pack, to eat a lot. to make oneself to appear like a hog while
eating. "He can really pack that okonomiyaki."
- Pick (See also the later term Fetch)
- "The Prez won't let us go to Kyoto???? Aw, pick..."
- Potential investigator who, upon hearing something of the
missionary's message, does nothing but argue and dwell irritatingly
on insignificant details. "Man, that boku
was really a picker."
- a benny without the benefit of plumbing.
- (See also Flusher, Sitter,
- An allowable curse for Elders' usage. "Punku" refers to
a bike tire having a flat, but it is also applicable when an Elder
lost his stateside girlfriend. The punkued rate in JKM in the
1974-75 jidai was 95.4% precisely. "Dear Johns" were
commemoratively displayed at the dendo hombu.
- When an Elder is punkued, on a rare
occasion he can retrieve his girlfriend upon the completion of his
mission as was the case of Elder Vial. (Vial choro had also turned
the top floor of the Matsubara danchi into a bike repair shop,
notably for fixing real punkus.)
- a descriptive word used in the sense that something is doing well.
"This mission is rockin'."
- a Japanese word meaning awesome or supreme. "Sooooo saiko."
- to chase after a male/female of the human species. "Don't
scam on triffs." --The Buch
- See Jesse
- i.e. the Shimais or Sister Missionaries. The pride and joy of any
district who are a spiritual uplift and also know how to cook well.
- i.e. Shinkansen. Used to refer to the speeding bullet train that
most missionaries never get a chance to ride on. "Dode, just
once before I die, I wanna ride the Shink."
friendship meeting, useful for meshing investigators and
members. (Submitted by George Takeshi Hara [email@example.com],
7 Sep 2000.)
1. place to conduct Book of Mormon sales. 2. place for
missionaries to write kanji on long sheets of paper. (Submitted by
George Takeshi Hara [firstname.lastname@example.org],
7 Sep 2000.)
- a Western style lavatory. (See also Benny,
Flusher, Plopper, Squatter
- the eighteen month or 1 1/2 year point of one's mission (13.5
months for Sister Missionaries). (See also Bump,
from supokasu - to stand someone up. A missionary is spoked when
an investigator/member does not show up for an appointment.
(Submitted by email@example.com,
7 Feb 2001)
- Scriptures, as in
"I had my sticks strapped to the back of my bike, but they fell
off when I hit a bump".
- to be in fashion. "That's a stylin' flipchart."
- a Japanese style lavatory. It's self-explanatory. Often loathed by
missionaries with the stomache flu. (See also
Sitter and Dropper)
- A game played on P-day eve or at night once everyone was asleep in which Elders would "steamroll" over each other as a form of Elder
bonding. Saga is famous for its great "steamrolling" room.
(Submitted by Mark Barrionuevo)
- 1. sad term for leaving a productive area 2. happy term for
leaving an unproductive area. (Submitted by George Takeshi Hara [firstname.lastname@example.org],
7 Sep 2000.)
- Tony Crackers
- Common term used sure to get a laugh out of nihonjin senkyoshi,
meaning tonikaku (whatever, nevermind) Submitted by Shane
Kershaw '97-'99, 26 Aug 2001.
- Triff (See also Triffid)
- a Japanese girl or woman with several distinct characteristics:
can be any age, likes gaijins (foreigners), produces a sound much
like a giggle, and is indigenous to Japan, etc., etc.
- a missionary who excels at triffing.
- Triffid (See also Triff
and the less common Aphid)
- The female version of Boku, also known as a
Triff. Perhaps Triff has grammatical roots to the original Triffid.
Imagine my delight one day in the 50's B-movie science fiction
section of a video store to see a video entitled, "Day of the
Triffids." (No. As a matter of fact, I didn't rent it.)
- For some inexplicable reason (no, I certainly did NOT "Triff"
on my mission), I still remember a legitimate Japanese kotowaza
which was used to describe a Triffid. Here goes: "O-hashi ga
koron demo, okashii toshi goro." Or, "At the age when even
a dropped chopstick brings laughter."
- 1. to make the effort of becoming acquainted with a triff. 2.
riding someone else on the back of your bike. 3. riding a bike while
towing someone else's bike by the handlebars.
- to be homesick or longing for home. to want to return to one's
home, to sleep in one's own bed, to watch a video, to see one's
- Missionary famous all-you-can-eat buffet in Osaka. Can be used as
a verb as in "We Vikinged on our way home from the Taikai".
- a meeting held by the Church-hired missionary Brother Wada in Kumamoto during the Ammon Project years; b) a dog pile; c) a code
word which when used at the end of a sentence by a green bean, "What's a
______?" means to dog pile him/her as a form of welcome to the Fukuoka
Mission, used repeatedly during the Ammon Project years when Wada-kais
(meaning "a") were the norm. (Submitted by Mark Barrionuevo)
- interjection interpreted roughly as "Oh, man!"
- Paul Petersen explains the origin
"In 1972 I picked up (and still have) a Peanuts paperback
comic book. In it Snoopy is surfboarding and shouts Cowabunga! In
another cartoon frame he exclaims, just before a wipeout, "Wooga"
, translated Wa-ga. I used it often with some of the young
kyodaitachi in Akashi, Suita and Sakai. It was used by some of
them too. Last week Kiyoshi Akasaka, originally from Akashi, was
in Dallas on business where we met. His first exclamation upon
seeing me was, Waga You much bigger and older. (A reference to age
I wakaru, but the "bigger" inference leaves me
confused.) So Waga is still in use, albeit limited."
It is in two places--1. Jerusalem 2. At the dendo honbu.
Specifically, it is the notice board in the honbu upon which hangs
a good sample of "Dear Johns". Elder Hara collected one
of those but he chose to keep it in his journal, an offense
carrying a bustable penalty (see busted).
(Submitted by George Takeshi Hara [email@example.com],
7 Sep 2000.)
- i.e. Wanpaku. a Japanese word meaning mischievous. Usually used
for a missionary who can be very relaxed sometimes (in a nice way, I
- Weekly District Meeting. a meeting held once a week for district
business, training in missionary skills, and gossip (mainly for
- Went Down
- a person who appears that they will be baptized, or someone who
was baptized, "He was baptized last week. He went
- Yakku Box
- See Kekko Box
- Said after prayer (i.e., after companion prayer, after branch
prayer, after a prayer at a taikai which constituted Superyoshiing,
but definitely it was uncool to say it after an individual prayer
although it is reported that some Elder in Higashi Osaka Daisan
branch in 1974 shrieked it out upon waking up after falling asleep
during his bedside prayer; hence it is occasionally referred to as
Cleverly yoshiing) and performed by all self-respecting chĂ´rĂ´s. It
is conducted by all reaching down with straight right arms and then
co-ordinating the upwards arm explosion in an attitude of
celebration as everyone shouts "Yoshi". Yoshiing was
greatly promoted to Shimizu Dendobucho.
- i.e. Zone Leader. "Leaps short buildings with a running start
and favorable wind, faster than a speeding B.B., etc."