Japanese Slang: hamaru

Posted by on September 4, 2015 – Japanese Study

Who has never gone crazy over a new video game, an anime or a new phone? Like children, we can get easily absorbed by a new thing, let the time pass by and be oblivious to what is around us. Japanese people are no exception to that phenomenon and surely are attracted to new trends! Interested in a popular novelty they have heard about, some Japanese may even become completely absorded by it to the point they forget everything else.

Well, becoming absorded by something new and being crazy about it can be expressed in Japanese slang with hamaru【はまる】.

Originally, the verb hamaru means to “fit in” and can be used for situation like “to fit into the river” 「川にはまる」”fits into the trap” 「罠にはまる」 or to say that one is entangled in a bad situation.

However in Japanese slang, hamaru means “to be crazy with something”,”to be infatuated with”, “totally absorbed by”. In that context, hamaru is not so far from its original meaning, as it describes the fact that you “fit” that enthousiasm: addicted, you cannot escape it. We know well the addiction of Japanese people for online game and smartphone game, easily noticed on morning train!

  • 「趣味にはまる」shumi ni hamaru」to be crazy with a hobby
  • 「私はあの歌手にはまる。」「watashi ha ano kashu ni hamaru」I’m obsessed with that singer.

Generally speaking, hamaru is mainly related to hobbies such as video games, animes,  tv-shows and so on. Hamaru may also be used to describe a person in love, obsessed with the object of his affection.

Oddly, if hamaru refers to pleasant things – activities or person you are infatuated with, it can also be used for usually considered less fun things… Such as work and study! Generally seen as troublesome activities, if one become crazy about his work or his study, you can also use hamaru. Crazy indeed!

Let’s see a conversation between two friends:

A: 久しぶり。最近どう?
B: 実はさ、最近オンラインゲームにハマってて。

≪Tomodachi doushi no kaiwa≫
A: Hisashiburi. saikin dou?
B: Jitsu hasa, saikin onrain geemu ni hamattete.
Yasumi no hi ha 10 jikan hayatteru kamo.
A: E~! mechyakuchya hamatteru ne.

English Translation

“Conversation between friends”
A: It’s been a while. How are you doing lately?
B: The truth is, lately I’ve been addicted to online games. On my days off I play for maybe ten hours.
A: What?! You must be addicted like crazy.

Another word used in the same way as the verb hamaru, is the Japanese-made English phrase, “my boom”, 「マイブーム」. Yes, in Japan, you will hear a lot of English phrases scattered into Japanese conversations that will make no sense to anyone who isn’t Japanese. We call it “wasei-eigo”, 「和製英語」 or “Japanese-Made English”. To get back to our point, the expression “my boom” is translated by “I am into…”, “I am crazy about…”.

例: 最近オンラインゲームにハマってるの。(最近オンラインゲームがマイブームなの!)
rei: Saikin onrain geemu ni hamatteru no. (saikin onrain geemu ga mai buumu na no!)
Example: Lately I’m really into online games (Online games are my boom lately!).

The next time you will speak about your hobbies with your Japanese friends, you will know what to say!

Click this link to read about Japanese slang: dame-moto だめもと

Credit CC BY- ND 2.0: We Make Noise!
Title: 發夢中
source: Flickr

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