Obama the Verb
From the blogosphere comes news that President Obama's name has become an eponym, but not in English. In Japanese, Obama has transformed into obamu — a verb that means, according to one blogger, "to ignore inexpedient and inconvenient facts or realities."
On his blog "Japan from the Inside Out," Bill Sakovich (aka "Ampontan") quotes a contributor to a mailing list for Japanese-English translation on the new verb obamu, now becoming popular on the campus of Kyoto University:
It means something along the lines of, 'to ignore anything which appears to make you likely to fail or (be) wrong, and blindly surge ahead (preferably chanting, "yes we can, yes we can")'."Sakovich also found this example in a September 22 entry in a slang collection compiled by the Japanese Teachers' Network in Kitakyushu:
obamu: (v.) To ignore inexpedient and inconvenient facts or realities, think 'Yes we can, Yes we can,' and proceed with optimism using those facts as an inspiration (literally, as fuel). It is used to elicit success in a personal endeavor. One explanation holds that it is the opposite of kobamu. (拒む, which means to refuse, reject, or oppose).
The slang collection gives an example of its usage that translates as "Hey, why are you so down in the dumps? Cheer up, cheer up!"
One Japanese Twitter user defines the word in a recent tweet as "believing you can accomplish something." Sakovich adds, "It remains to be seen whether this word is capable of hitoriaruki (literally, walking alone, or becoming independently viable), and whether the tweety Pollyanna definition or the more pointed Kitakyushu definition become the standard."