A Japanese Slang mattari (suru) for chilling out

Posted by on September 2, 2015 – Japanese Study

When you are learning a foreign language, studying slangs is a funny way to deepen your vocabulary. Not only will you speak more fluently but you will sound more like a native speaker. Moreover, slang gives you an interesting point of view on society. Let’s learn more about Japanese slang mattari (suru)!

Japanese people are known for their dedication to their work often to the detriment of their private life, working overtime, sometimes even on week-end. In some companies, rhythms are so intense, we might wonder if salarymen can get some rest.

That being said, Japanese people care for their day-off. They will meet their friends, go see a popular exhibition or a movie. Or they will simply enjoy chilling out on their couch and do nothing. Getting relaxed, being laid-back is expressed in Japanese slang by the word: mattari (suru)  [まったりする]. 

The word mattari belongs to the vocabulary of the gastronomy and has been around for a long time. It was originally used in the Kansai area to describe a “mild, but deep taste“. Not only was it describing the taste, but also the way this kind of flavor spreads slowly in your mouth.

It is around 1998 that the word was diverted from its original meaning in an anime, called “Ojarumaru”「おじゃる丸」, broadcasted by the NHK. In the anime, the word was used to describe the mood and attitude of someone.

Progressively, mattari became used to describe a state of laziness (being carefree or at ease). Used with this meaning, a sense of boredom is also implied. It can also be translated by “to lounge”, “to relax” or “to chill out“. It is close to other Japanese words such as “yukkuri (suru)”「 ゆっくり(する)」, “nonbiri shite iru”「のんびりしている」、”daradara (suru)”「ダラダラ(する)」, gorogoro (suru) 「ゴロゴロ(する)」.

With young people using it more commonly to say they are chilling out, the original meaning grew unusual and the Japanese slang mattari (suru) was born!

Let’s see a conversation example: 

例:≪友達の会話≫
A: ねぇ、ちょっと疲れちゃった。
どっかでまったりお茶でもしない?
B: いいね、そうしよう。

Rei: ≪ Tomodachi no kaiwa ≫
A: Ne~e, chotto tsukare chatta. Dokka de mattari ocha demo shinai?
B: Ī ne, sō shiyou.

Example: <<Conversation between friends>>
A: I’m pretty tired. Do you want to relax somewhere and maybe get some tea or something?
B: Good idea. Let’s do that.

例:≪恋人同士/夫婦の会話≫
A: 週末はどうしようか?
B: 今週は残業続きで疲れたから、家でまったりしたいな。

Example: <<Conversation between a married couple or boyfriend and girlfriend>>
A: What should we do this weekend?
B: I’ve had to work a lot of overtime this week, so I want to stay home and take it easy.

Rei: ≪ Koibito dōshi/ fūfu no kaiwa ≫
A: Shūmatsu wa dō shiyou ka?
B: Konshū wa zangyō tsudzuki de tsukaretakara, ie de mattari shitai na.

例:≪友達の会話≫
A: GWはどうだった?
B: んー、特に何も。家でまったりしてた。

Rei:≪ Tomodachi no kaiwa ≫
A: GW wa dōdatta?
B: N- , tokuni nani mo. uchi de mattari shi teta.

Example: <<Conversation between friends>>
A: How as Golden Week?
B: I didn’t really do anything. Just stayed home and was lazy.

Japanese summer are so hot and humid, that you may not want to hang out with your Japanese friend when they invite you to go somewhere. Mattari offers you a nice way out. Now, you know what to say!

“Today, I’m chilling out at my place.”

Click this link to read about Japanese slang dotakyan suru!

Credit CC-BY-SA 2.0: Takashi Hososhima
Title: Kinda sleepy
source: Flickr