Ahh, economics! Adam Smith, worlds with only two types of fruit, and an abundance of calculators–what’s not to love? Everyone seems to have different opinions on the study of commerce, but there’s no denying that it might, possibly, make the world go round. Maybe? We’re still confused about whether or not Karl Marx was a Marxist.

But one thing we do know is that economics is a major subject of study around the world–and especially in Japan! While the subject isn’t exactly know for being exciting, it turns out that there’s a lot of humor to be found among its students. Here are some of top “aru-aru” moments from Japanese econ students.

“Aru-aru,” in case you’ve never heard the phrase before, is essentially the Japanese equivalent of the English “that awkward moment when,” though literally translated it’s closer to “this happens a lot.” Either way, a popular type of hashtag in the Japanese Twitterverse right now is [a topic] plus “aru-aru,” like “keizaigaku aru-aru,” or “That awkward moment when…in Economics.” As you can see, it slides of the tongue much more easily in Japanese!

We’ve found a list of some of the best “keizaigakubu aruaru” tweets and they were so funny we decided that our readers simply had to see them too! If you’re an economics student, see how many of these sound familiar to you. Even if you’re not an economics student, they might still sound like they were ripped from the pages of your LiveJournal…

Our first tweet will be familiar to nearly anyone in college–especially if you have an 8 am class!


That awkward moment in Economics! On an average day, only half the class shows up for the lecture.

It seems like there are different stereotypes for each major–like Japanese majors being obsessed with anime and psychology students self-diagnosing themselves with every disease. It’s no different in Japan, where the stereotype is that literature students are major partiers and econ students are more studious. Turns out that’s not always the case though!


At my university, it seems like the amount of “wheeee!” is much higher for economics students than literature students.

“Amount of ‘wheeee'” is probably the best way to measure a person’s likelihood to party ever. Andrew W.K. would likely break any wheee-meter ever built though, wouldn’t he?

▼Amount of whee? “Party. Hard.”


Like people have done time immemorial, there’s inevitably at least one group of students who look down on others for some arbitrary reason. For our next tweet to make sense, you’ll need to know a little bit about Japanese university entrance exams. Private universities often devise their own tests, and will have elective sections. Apparently math is an elective–not a requirement–for many aspiring economists.


That awkward moment in Economics: Dudes who took the math portion of the entrance exam look down on everyone else.

It turns out that the Tokyo Metropolitan Area isn’t the only thing that’s packed full of people in Japan…


The mystery of classes with over 250 students starting in quietude despite the room only have 200 seats. #ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics

Of course, any college student knows the pain of coming home for winter vacation and having to explain to your parents that no, you still haven’t selected a major and no, you still don’t want to be a doctor!


The gathering people who still haven’t settled on a dream for the future. #ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics

Of course, one of the biggest ideas in economics is the concept of supply and demand. While many of us only experience this in daily life when our bosses “demand” our TPS reports and we knock our cubicle walls down instead of “supplying” them.


[#ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics] Writing “demand” is such a pain in my ass!

In case you’re wondering “demand” looks like this 需要 in Japanese. You can imagine how much of a pain it is to write that over and over!

One interesting linguistic phenomenon is the multiple meanings of “market” in economics. It turns out it’s the same in Japanese! Market is written with one set of kanji in Japanese (市場), but it can be read two different ways: “ichba” and “shijou.” The first, “ichiba,” refers to a physical or Internet market like a farmer’s market or eBay. The second, “shijou,” refers to the economics concept. Since the kanji is the same, readers must infer the correct way to pronounce the word based on context.


[#ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics] I keep reading Niconico Market (kind of like a Japanese version of Amazon) with “shijou” instead of “ichiba!”

▼It clearly says “Ichiba” right there in the title!


When studying a subject in university, it’s very common for ideas to be simplified for the sake of speeding up explanations. In economics, it’s very common to use imaginary worlds where there are two people with two different types of fruit.


Does no one else find these worlds where Taro and Hanako have only two types of goods–apples and mikan oranges–incredibly unsettling?? #ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics

With any major come the silly questions that even experts would be hard-pressed to answer.


People ask me what stocks they should buy. #ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics I don’t know! LOL And if I did know, I’d quit looking for work and just live off that! LOLOL!

Well, here’s a stock tip for all of you: Calculators!


#ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics: Since I always forget my calculator, I end up buying one for the test, and with each final, the number of calculators I have just increases and increases!

▼You might even say that they just keep…adding up.


Abenomics is the term affectionately (or derisively, depending on your perspective) given to the economic measures taken by Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet. They have been somewhat controversial, and you would expect any economics student to have a number of well-reasoned opinions of the topic. Well, you would expect it anyway…


I thought people interested in getting into the economics department would have strong opinions on Abenomics, but nope!


I graduated with a degree in economics, but I know absolutely nothing about Abenomics…redoing macroecnomics would be a pain in the ass! #ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics

One fun (and sometimes frustrating for non-native speakers) aspect of Japanese is all the contractions. For example, economics is seen in Japan as being a “paradise” major since the work isn’t supposed to be very hard and it’s supposed to help you find a job after graduating. This has led many people to refer to the major as “paradise economics” (or “paradaisu keizai” in Japanese).


The contraction for “paradise economics” is “parakei!”


Economics tests seem so freaking hard! Is it supposed to be “parakei”? (・・?)


This isn’t paradise economics at all!

Economics is technically a humanities subject, but for those studying it, that can start to seem like a serious misclassification!


The humanities department mixing together computers and math? That would be economics!

For some of us, hindsight is the only time we can ever see anything clearly. And for some, even then things look blurry…


Even though I knew I couldn’t do math, I went through all the trouble to get into a university economics program and study economics, using lots of math. I have no idea what the hell I was thinking!

For those of us who have a hard time remembering names, this next tweet will be depressingly (or hilariously) familiar.


I couldn’t remember Adam Smith’s name–all I could think of was Aerosmith and Will Smith. As an econ student, nothing has brought me a stronger feeling of despair.

▼”I don’t wanna fall asleep/Because I’d miss the invisible hand!”


We’ll chalk this tweet up to test anxiety. That’s been our excuse since sixth grade, and we’re not about to start coming up with new ones!


During middle school, I couldn’t remember “Adam = Smith,” so instead I wrote “Aero = Smith.” And now I’m an econ major.

Well, we suppose Aerosmith is kind of like the Adam Smith of really boring radio rock…

Here’s another test-related tweet to make you feel better about not getting straight As.


I didn’t know the answer to “What is the opposite of ‘niche?'” So, I wrote “sacchi.” #ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics

This probably sounds like nonsense if you’re not familiar with Japanese idiomatic expressions. The Twitter user is making a play on the phrase “nicchi mo sacchi mo ikanai,” which basically means “I just can’t do it!” Apparently, the phrase comes from the abacus and was used when a number could not be divided by either 2 (the “ni” in “nicchi” is 2) or 3 (the “sa” in “sacchi” is 3).

Finally, we’re not sure what’s going on in economics departments, but apparently they just don’t know how attract the ladies. At Toyo University, for example, only about one quarter of their economics students are women.


I realized I was in the wrong classroom when I noticed the male-to-female ratio of students. #ThatAwakwardMomentInEconomics

So, how many of these tweets rang true for you? Did all the economists reading this get a good chuckle, or did you find this a horrible representation of your academic lives? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

Sources: Toyo University, Gogen Yurai Jiten, Naver Matome
Images: Niconico Ichiba, Wikipedia (1, 2, 3, 4), editing by RocketNews24