In Japan, a play on words is becoming widespread. Trends such as shortening the word using word combinations to make people laugh have become huge these days.
One of the most popular examples is “Parent Lottery”. Literally, in English these are two separate words, parents, and lottery which doesn’t make sense when put together.
But in Japan, it is used to describe what kind of parents you’ve got. If you think you’ve got nice parents, you might say, “I’m blessed. I won the parent lottery”. Otherwise, you’ll say, “I think I lost the parent lottery.” Some examples of situations depicting losing the parent lottery is when you have abusive parents, parents who cheat on their spouses, and those who can’t hold a job to support the family.
Let me tell you about the origin of this word, which I happen to know. In Japanese, it’s actually called “Oya-Gacha”. “Oya” means parents, while “Gatcha” means lottery. This word first became viral in the social media platform, Twitter. Similarly, at this time, “Gacha” also meant the sound of the door handle clicking. More specifically, our onomatopoeia for it is “Gacha Gacha”.
At that time, especially during the peak of covid-related lockdowns, a growing number of people have become known as “shut-in people”. These types of people have stayed at home, locked up in their rooms browsing the internet all day long. Of course, their parents would worry about them, and most of them would suddenly open the doors and check on them.
In such a case, the most common reaction was “Hey, don’t open my room! I hate my parents (= Oya, in Japanese) who suddenly click my door (gacha-gacha, sound in Japanese). Hence, giving birth to the expression, Oya-gacha, as a result of the trend to make everything shorter, especially on social media.
Now, “Oya-gacha” is used for “parent lottery”. But in the past, it was used to describe that the parents clicked the door. It’s amazing how the play of words can result to different meanings.