Perusing Japanese Twitter feeds, you’re likely to come across the word “nau” at the end of a sentence. This word has the same meaning as the phonetically similar “now” in English. It’s used to simply state what the tweeter is doing at that given moment. Examples include “Unko Nau” (pooping now) or “Jishin Jiko Nau” (physical injury now).

Even Nippon Professional Baseball star Masahiro Tanaka, fresh off his perfect season got in on the action and tweeted out what he was doing nau. However, when you’re a pro-pitcher rumored to be imminently signed to a Major League Baseball team, an innocent little tweet can create unusually big ripples.

The original tweet sheds some light on how our hero Tanaka likes to spend his down time: “Watching ‘Momokuro Chan’ while taking a bath nau.”

▼ In case you’ve never heard of “Momokuro Chan,” here’s what you’ve been missing.

The tweet yielded two replies. One of which must have come from Chicago and read, “Someone tell me he’s saying he wants to be a Cub.” To which another tweet quipped, “My Asian languages are shaky but it looks like: ‘Just agreed with Cubs, team doctors not worried about my knee swelling’.” These comments caused an unusually large stir among Japanese Tanaka followers. It would seem that many read “someone tell me” as a sincere request for a translation.

Comments such as, “That foreigner’s way off the mark” and “That dude’s Asian language translation is hilariously wrong” suggest that many took the gentlemen’s words to mean they had literally thought Tanaka’s Momokuro Chan tweet was actually an agreement to join the Cubs.

Some other comments were ambiguous enough that they may have held an equally sarcastic tone with replies of “Cubs fans are positive” and “That’s an interesting way to translate.” It’s tough to say for sure but we’re willing to give at least a few of them the benefit of the doubt.

With irony dripping from every key-stroke it was almost impossible to tell who got the joke and who didn’t, but one fact remained crystal clear: “Masahiro Tanaka is an idol otaku.” In his original tweet the Rakuten pitcher referred to Momoiro Clover Z, a successful idol group known more for their gimmicky antics than their music, even compared to other idol groups. They also host their own variety show on several Japanese stations.

And with this new information one commenter gave the best piece of advice to any MLB team trying to woo Tanaka for next season: Start broadcasting Momokuro on your local affiliate nau!

Source: Twitter via Yakyu Soku (Japanese)
Momoiro Image: Amazon