Why does Engrish have such a fascination for us native speakers? Personally I find it a huge source of amusement that in Japan - a nation ostensibly obsessed with learning English - that there's so much "English" visible which is not only wrong, but often hilariously so.

This isn't poking fun at other people's speaking abilities - no doubt I make enough howlers in other languages myself - but at the sheer flood of weird words which wash over you in Japan.

(For a view of the world of linguistic cockups from the other side of the divide, see the Orientalish section)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008   6:05 PM

We used to be real good back in the day...

Tonkatsu Wako - it has been famous

They aren't too bad now either.

From the appropriately named WAKO Group

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Monday, September 15, 2008   3:27 PM

Oh No! You Cannot Connect It

Due to ongoing cognitive processing issues, normal service on this blog is currently suspended. Until regular operations can be resumed, please enjoy some soothing background Engrish, such as this t-shirt implying that you are too dumb to get the association between South Dakota and its popular maritime mascot character, the whale.

South Dakota T-Shirt (Ikebukuro)

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Monday, September 1, 2008   7:55 PM

This Vehicle is Done

Engrish on the Keikyu Line

Tsk tsk Keikyu Railway. You'd think that operating part of the line which runs between Tokyo's major airports would encourage you to do more than just run your translations through some automatic translator. I know you probably don't read my blog, but just to show I care, here's a saner suggestion:

"The air conditioning in this car is set to a higher temperature".

(Most railway companies provide at least one carriage on each train where the air conditioning is not quite as vicious for passengers who prefer it, though it's very rarely signposted in English come to think of it - usually there will be a sign in blue above the doors on reading 弱冷房車 jaku reibosha)

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Monday, July 14, 2008   8:16 PM

Tomato Sause

Tomato Sause

Orthographical crisis in Tokyo's signwriting industry continues. News and in-depth report at 11. 

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Thursday, July 10, 2008   8:20 PM


At Home Dinning of Chinese

Life in Japan - if you're not living next to a main road, above a Pachinko parlour or near any foreign embassy which meets the displeasure of the guys with the black vans - can be remarkably serene and quite. Old China hands, used to the hustle and bustle of that nation's great cities, find this particularly unsettling, but now they can recreate that unbeatable Sino-raucousness in the comfort of their own homes thanks to this business based in Tokyo's Nishi Shinjuku neighbourhood offering a new take on the concept of "Chinese takeaway".

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008   8:44 PM

Spot the Translation Mistake

Bins & Cans

Until recently the rubbish receptacles in the kitchen at work were labelled in Japanese only. A few days ago some kindly soul went round and added English translations for the non-Japanese speaking members of staff. The translations were excellent, apart from this one subtle error.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008   8:23 PM

Soylent Green?

Until I had a close look at where they get their ingredients from, the offerings at this "fresh juice" stall in the basement of Lumine 1 at Shinjuku Station always looked very healthy and tempting.

Beautiful Juice from the Bodies

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Saturday, June 28, 2008   2:02 PM

No Loan

No Loan

The global credit crunch has reached Japan, and banks are reacting by providing innovative financial products such as the No Loan, enabling cash-strapped consumers to borrow no money whatsover at very reasonable terms and conditions.

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