The words or phrases that best "reflect" the recent year in Japanese society were recently chosen at the annual 2008 U-CAN Awards ceremony.
First prize went to 「アラフォー」"arafo-," which is used to refer to a woman around 40 years old. Second prize went to 「グ〜！」, "gu~" (good).
"Arafo-" was the title of a television series that portrayed the lives of forty-somethings.
The second grand prize went to the very irritating 「グ〜！」. Edo Harumi, herself forty-something, is a "talento" whose only talent seems to be to make an odd face while giving the thumbs up sign and uttering 「グ〜！」.
Other words nominated included:
「居酒屋タクシー」(izakaya taxi). This refers to the cabs that offered a beer or two to bureaucrats on their ride home after a long day at the Ministry.
「上野の４１３球」(Ueno no 413 kyu). The Japanese women's softball team took the gold medal in Beijing this summer, mainly on the back (arm) of starting pitcher Yukiko Ueno. She threw a total of 413 pitches in three days.
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