So, I was letting Google Image Search find me a new wallpaper – and, by the way, if you’re an anime fan, I strongly recommend typing “壁紙” into GIS and letting it fly, insasmuch as it’s Japanese for “wallpaper” – when I found this cute fox-girl picture, and it has been annoying me.
Not the picture itself, that is, but the associated text.
It says “mofumofu shitai? dame!”
Which I would translate as “Do you want to (mofumofu)? No way!”
“mofumofu” is, it seems likely, one of the many Japanese onomatopoeia, like “zakuzaku” for the sound of rustling or “dokidoki” for the sound of heartbeats,which pack a ton of of – culturally encoded – information into four syllables
This particular one is presumably suggestive to some level, but no dictionary I can find has any translation for “mofumofu”, and while searching for it turns up plenty of instances on google, none of them feel compelled to translate it, so I have no idea exactly how suggestive this is trying to be.
But, you say, it’s just a cute picture of a fox-girl, what does it matter?
It doesn’t RIGHT NOW, but I have two years to go until I’m done with my Japanese degree and looking for translation gigs. If I’m translating manga or games, “mofumofu” is the sort of vocabulary that I’m presumably going to run in to and be expected to be able to translate, and I had better figure out what it means sometime between now and then.
Edit: It seems that “mofumofu” is a word that means the texture of being fluffy. I suppose that makes sense.
Edit#2: (23 June 2019)
This post is over ten years old now and is the second-most-viewed page on this blog, and I finally got a really good answer. See Elender’s note in the comments. 🙂
I never did get into translation, as an aside. I am looking back at my enthusiasm from a decade ago and am a little bit shamed.