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Identity Crisis

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1Identity Crisis Empty Identity Crisis on Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:06 am

Let's say you're a 20 something male, not really buff or manly or anything, but not really girly either. Do you use ore or boku when talking to peers (male or female).... and when would it be wise to switch back to plain old watashi.

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2Identity Crisis Empty Re: Identity Crisis on Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:21 pm

I was always really confused about the use of watashi/boku/ore as well. In classes the difference wasn't explained or ore never even showed UP.

I'm still vague on the usage really. It seems very sensitive and dependent on the situation. Obviously, you use wata(ku)shi in public settings or dealing with "superiors" or to be polite. As for ore, I see it used in colleges and between friends. Boku though... I'm honestly totally lost on when and how it is used.

I tend to avoid ore since I don't know how strong it is on the "Manly-o-meter" scale and don't want to give off the wrong vibe, but of course, by not using it I could be making a similar mistake.

Chris would know better on this than I. Not sure he has net access yet. I wish I could get Yurika or Takuma on these forums too.

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3Identity Crisis Empty Re: Identity Crisis on Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:39 am


I've always been confused when hearing the terms used as well. It seems ore is high up there on the manly man scale, but also seems to have a bit of.. arrogance? associated with it. Or almost as if it's too casual/slang-ish.

In terms of female usage of atashi, I'm also not sure if/when it's ok to use this. It's definitely more feminine in sound but is this only for casual/close friend use?

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4Identity Crisis Empty Re: Identity Crisis on Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:54 am

Saw this on Japan Today forums.

"I was out tonight with a few male Japanese friends (in Kyushu) - I asked them what they thought:


At work: Watashi

Socially: If girls are around, Boku
If only males; ore.

However I noticed they were both using boku & ore even with just males around."

Makes sense to me.

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5Identity Crisis Empty Re: Identity Crisis on Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:56 am

I'm pretty much lost still on boku and ore. All I know is to not use atashi

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6Identity Crisis Empty Re: Identity Crisis on Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:36 am

Yuri (my best friend, for those of you who don't know her) uses her own name instead of a pronoun. Which, to my knowledge, is a pretty childish way to talk, but apparently she would feel weird saying "atashi" or anything like that.

My experience in this is pretty much just limited to dramas, but you know, I've really watched a lot of dramas, haha. And honestly, from what I've heard, it seems like a guy can use "boku" in pretty much any situation and be safe unless it's really formal. I have very, very rarely ever heard a young guy use "watashi." Older men, it seems to be more common, but not for young guys, unless you're in a pretty formal situation. "Ore" seems to be pretty widely used though. Like, in pretty much any casual situation, young males seem to use "ore" unless they generally speak more politely than average guys, in which case they use "boku." Of course, like I said, this is just my experience from watching lots of dramas/variety shows/etc., so. But even on variety shows and stuff, guys seem to use "ore" a lot. You just wouldn't say it to like, your teacher or your boss or whatever. "Ore" doesn't strike me as being more manly than "boku," just more casual. Although I think girls using "boku" isn't unheard of, but that's pretty unusual, I think.

As for "atashi," it seems like almost all girls use it, from what I've heard. Seems to be really common. For girls, I guess it's either "atashi" or "watashi," really. Unless you're weird like Yuri and you just use your own name like a little kid.

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