“Skippers”, “Ghosts” and “Idol Time”: The secret language of Japanese hotel staff

During my high school years, I worked in a supermarket, where an announcement over the loudspeaker system for “Code 19” always meant it was time to head to the staffroom for a cup of tea. Just like my clever supervisor, many service industry workers have developed their own set of code words that they use to communicate without letting the customers know too much about what’s really going on.

But thanks to this list of the secret keywords used by hotel staff in Japan, next time you’re in a Japanese hotel you can prick up your ears and listen out for any exciting gossip going on amongst the employees! Just for fun, have a look at this list first and see if you can guess what they mean. What would obake, nō-shō, aidoru taimu, chirashi, donden, and sukippā mean in a hotel context? 

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