The Japanese language is an old and beautiful one (also sometimes annoying and frustrating to learn), that contains a multitude of words and concepts that are hard to translate to English directly. If you’re learning Japanese and know what Google is, you’ve probably come across words like these:
Warning; literally 0 percent of the Japanese speakers I’ve asked know that this last word exists so…you might want to be liberal with its use.
Now, I’m no Japanese teacher, in fact, if you know any, hook me up because my grasp of the language is more like a wrestle with an oiled up eel, but I do want to share the one word that’s changed my life.
The first time I read it, I imagined it meant something like “that guy with the abs and the great hair that every travel blogger seems to have for the purpose of posing with”, or perhaps “the behind-the-scenes-guy/boyfriend who takes the flattering pictures of those lifestyle bloggers and knows all their good angles”.
Its pronunciation out in the real world is more like insta-BUY than insta-BAE, though, which comes a little closer to it’s actual definition.
The characters at the end, 映え, mean glory or prosperity. Something that’s instabae, therefore, will bring in all those likes we so desperately crave, and a good dose of insta-glory.
It’s become such a trend that cafes have started marketing themselves as Instabae locations, and entire art galleries (or something similar to those) have popped up solely for the purpose of creating a backdrop for those who wish to up their insta-game.
Here’s an example of an Instabae cafe we visited JUST to take these pictures:
Unlike some of the very poetic Japanese words you’ll find plastered on motivational posters such as the ones I’ve crudely put together above, Instabae is widely and frequently used, (mostly by young people) and probably won’t get you any funny looks when you test it out. In fact, I encourage you to try using it when you visit! You might make some friends, and OBVIOUSLY, you’ll find the best spots to take your selfies!