for what would be called "that extra something
" in English
. It is a textbook example
of English being imported into Japanese as gairaigo
, and subsequently losing all of its meaning to an English speaker.
The connotation of the term is related to incremental creativity. When you come up with a new idea, you're basically rehashing an old idea, "plus alpha." Some Japan scholars see the plus alpha concept as a way of understanding how Japanese artists and engineers work, refining the wheel instead of inventing it. Others simply see it as a cute way to explain the evolution of thoughts.
In other words, your radical ideas have already occurred to others, but that's okay.