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Literally meaning dried fish woman, the popular slang 干物女 is used to call a woman in her twenties or older who, as nicely summarized in Wikipedia, has many of the following traits:

  • Her text replies are very slow and short - メールの返事が極端に遅い、短い

  • If it is something simple, she will eat it standing in her kitchen. - 簡単な食事なら台所で立って食べる

  • She will go to take forgotten stuff in her flat on her knees keeping the outdoor shoes in the air rather than put them off. - 忘れ物を靴を履いたまま、膝立ちで部屋に上がり取りに行く

  • She won't put on her makeup and bra on nonworking days. - 休日はノーメイクでノーブラ

  • She won't visit a beauty salon for half a year. - 半年ほど美容室に行っていない

  • In winter she won't shave or wax her body hair properly or at all. - 冬場は毛の処理を怠る、又はしない

  • She has no problem going to a pub alone. - 1人で居酒屋に入れる

  • She rarely gets so excited that she experiences an increased heartbeat. - 最近ドキドキしていない

What is the Russian equivalent? In other words, how are such women commonly or idiomatically called in Russian?

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    I have a strong suspicion that you have a strong suspicion that such word doesn't exist - and it indeed does not. – shabunc Jul 13 at 16:28
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    @shabunc Just my two cents. 干物女 is not even considered an established Japanese idiom or anything to begin with; it is at best just a coined term or buzzword catching on at the time -- almost exclusively among viewers of a certain successful TV drama from ten years ago. So essentially, the question is tantamount to "What is a Russian term for young single women who are appallingly lazy in just about everything, showing no interest in relationships or dating at all?". I'd never find myself using the term, unless I want people around me to have me pegged as a SHEEP. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Jul 13 at 18:14
  • (a more accurate question would be Is there a Russian equivalent...) and why dried fish? – Баян Купи-ка Jul 13 at 19:37
  • @БаянКупи-ка : As a dried fish is devoid of moisture, a dried fish woman is devoid of motivation, feeling of love, energy, etc. – Mitsuko Jul 13 at 20:16
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    to me it sounds like a backsplanation @Con-gras-tue-les-chiens i sure don't see rhyme and reason unless its rooted in traditional Japanese imagery and allegories, but the fact it has an author explains absence of a more obvious and immediate connection – Баян Купи-ка Jul 13 at 20:26
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Well, I could say that we don't have a long-living equivalent for it in Russian.

Partially it will be серая мышь, partially синий чулок, sometimes we can come across тётка, but it's not the only meaning of this word, here the context matters.

Замухрыжка is also a suitable word.

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The term sounds pretty sexist to me (in the very beginning, it’s said it’s about women only).

Items 4-6 (makeup, clothing, body care) are obviously about a woman not behaving like society expects (caring about her looks to attract a man).

Item 7 (bars) seems to be about the same breaking of expectations. Though I don’t know whether a woman is supposed to be accompanied to bars in Japan by a man, or another woman, or not visit them at all. Can you clarify in comments?

I’m not so sure about items 1 and 8 (messaging style and excitement), but they may be in the same alley: proper woman must be talkative and emotional, and this one behaves like a man.

Items 2-3 (eating and shoes) are puzzling to me. Probably that’s Japanese cultural peculiarities. Are such behaviors also considered male-like?

So, for a woman with male-like behavior, we have these terms:

  1. «эмансипированная (женщина, девушка)» (somewhat archaic, mostly associated with early 20 century)
  2. «пацанка» (a tomboy; colloquial, mostly associates with girls in their teens)
  3. «феминистка» (a crude assumption of the person’s political views from their lifestyle, of course)

That’s what I can say from these listed traits. However, the Wikipedia article says more about something like giving up on hope to find a husband. Which is sexist too, presuming that must be a life’s purpose for every woman. Unluckily, Russian has some idioms along these lines too:

  1. «старая дева» (a spinster - woman who is a virgin or unmarried past “normal” age)
  2. «синий чулок» - listed in another answer
  3. «сильная и независимая женщина» (a strong and independent woman) - a recent sexist Internet meme, for trolling feminists, meaning they will stay forever alone.
  4. A sub-meme is that such a woman has 40 cats («40 кошек»), meaning that she’ll try to mitigate her loneliness with pets. It’s a Russian variation of an old European image of crazy cat lady. Also within such reasoning, for a lonely woman to acquire her first cat means giving up on her love life.

P.S. I think «серая мышка (мышь)» listed in another answer is not appropriate here, because it suggests timidity and not caring for looks, but such a woman may be married.

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OK, you're trying to be pedantic, let me be pedantic as well.

  1. Her text replies are very slow and short - well, ancient Slavic people originally called someone whose text replies are short...oh, come on, I'm kidding, there's no single word or phrase in Russian describing someone who does that.
  2. If it is something simple, she will eat it standing in her kitchen. - there's no single word or phrase in Russian describing someone who does that.
  3. She will go to take forgotten stuff in her flat on her knees keeping the outdoor shoes in the air rather than put them off. - there's no single word or phrase in Russian describing someone who does that. Also, I'm not sure that anyone in Europe tries to enter flat on his/her knees in such situation.
  4. She won't put on her makeup and bra on nonworking days. - there's no single word or phrase in Russian describing someone who does that.
  5. She won't visit a beauty salon for half a year. - there's no single word or phrase in Russian describing someone who does that.
  6. In winter she won't shave or wax her body hair properly or at all. - In winter she won't shave or wax her body hair properly or at all. By the way, why in winter? Oh, never mind.
  7. She has no problem going to a pub alone. - there's no single word or phrase in Russian describing someone who does that.
  8. She rarely gets so excited that she experiences an increased heartbeat. - I'd rather say "всегда cпокойная, как слон", "невозмутимая", "безэмоциональная". The other - very Russian (no irony) word worth to know in this context is "пофигистка", it's not gender-colored though, there's also "пофигист". However "пофигист" is more about someone who doesn't care at all rather than about the lack of emotions.

Hope that helps. It looks like it's very regional thing, regarding the fact that there're only Korean, Japanese and Chinese article about this term.

  • Despite being Russian, you wrote your answer as a pedantic German :) The described traits come together for a reason. There is a psychological root cause. And I am asking for a word or phrase for women who have that cause inside them. – Mitsuko Jul 13 at 19:06
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    ha-ha @Mitsuko you'd be surprised but I live in Germany ) – shabunc Jul 13 at 19:07
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In Russian people express the by-you-searched implication in exactly the same way: "She is a dried vobla".

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In some cases a description might suit:

e.g. она ленивая и не заботится о себе (не ухаживает за собой)

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I think if I had to describe a person like that, I'd say "ленивая пофигистка". If you just say "пофигистка", some may take it as "careless hooligan", however if you add "ленивая" it would perfectly complete the image.

I don't like "серая мышь" because it has a social connotation. Usually people call somebody "серая мышь/мышка" when they're socially inept and can't strongly express their desires and feelings. More like a passive person on the outside, without any specifics about the inside. Very similar to the japanese word ダンデレ (黙り + デレデレ).

Whereas your description is more like a list of everyday habits regardless of their social activity.

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I think "мымра" fits best. However, its main meaning is "sullen and ugly/shabby". Also, мымра sounds quite offensive.

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