Today’s word: 中二病 (Chuunibyou)
First, let’s start with some background about the Japanese school system. In Japan, there are 6 years of elementary school, 3 years of middle school and 3 years of high school. These are usually represented by the characters 小 (shou, “small”), 中 (chuu, “middle”) and 高 (kou “high”) respectively. If you watch any anime with a school, you’ll probably see these characters written somewhere (lots of anime/manga start with a long shot of the school’s gate so you can read the name of the school)
中二 (chuuni, “middle 2”) thus refers to the 2nd year of middle school, when the students are about 14 years old. 病 (byou) means “illness”. So the most direct translation of chuunibyou would be “2nd year of middle school sickness”. This phrase refers to the typical characteristics and actions of kids going through puberty.
Ever wondered why the child protagonists of Evangelion are so annoying? Well, they can’t help it. They’re 14 and have caught chuunibyou. Still, I bet you weren’t much better at their age!
Here are some common symptoms of chuunibyou in Japan:
- Suddenly becoming cold towards one’s parents.
- Becoming aloof and valuing one’s privacy.
- Starting to drink black coffee.
- Starting to listen to rock and western music.
- Thinking that long coats and capes are the ultimate in cool.
- Fantasizing that if an armed group invaded their school, they alone would fight them off.
- Having a “I could do anything if I put my mind to it” attitude… but not actually doing anything.
- Repeating things that they read on the internet as their own opinions.
- Criticizing various aspects of society… but at the same time worshiping some group (like a band or idol) with a fervent cult-like dedication.
If you have any of these symptoms after middle school, I recommend going to see a doctor!
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