Japanese Slang: Mattari (Suru) for Chilling Out!

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)!

Origins of Mattari
Conversation Examples


Japanese people are known for their dedication to their work often to the detriment of their private life, working overtime, sometimes even on weekends. In some companies, things are so hectic and intense, that it makes us wonder if salarymen get any rest at all.

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


Origins of Mattari

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!


Conversation Examples

A: ねぇ、ちょっと疲れちゃった。
B: いいね、そうしよう。

Example: ≪ 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.

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.

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

A: GWはどうだった?
B: んー、特に何も。家でまったりしてた。

Example:≪ 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 summers 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

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