Tuesday, February 5, 2008   6:48 AM

Out of line

The other day I was waddling my penguiny way along the major shopping street not far from Penguin HQ when something caught my beady penguiny eye. To be precise, some sort of Chinese characters adorning the door of a trendy-looking coffee purveyor. "Gambatta na", I thought, "but there's something there that looks not quite right".


Stopping to have a better squint at it, it became clear that the middle character is missing a line. It should look like this:

My apologies if this sounds terribly pedantic, but it's visually annoying as for example "Opun" in the same context would be. And more over - and I am writing this from behind the smug, all-knowing safety afforded to me by some official bits of paper in the language - what it actually says is "eigyôchû", which does mean "open", but in the sense of "currently open for business", which it most clearly was not, it being well past 8pm when I took the photo. For the record, "営業時間" - eigyô jikan, "opening hours" - would probably be the more appropriate word to write here.

Motto of the story: if you want to decorate your business with exotic oriental characters, a) take care to copy them correctly; and b) when getting someone to write them down for you (I'm guessing this is what happened here), make sure they get the correct context for the translation. (If I have a chance I'll go in and mention it to them next time I'm passing by).

Posted in Orientalish
That's no more pedantic than what you'd feel if a Japanese store had a sign saying OPPEN on it.
Posted by: Ed Ward | 2008-02-06 13:14
Come to think of it, a lot of smaller Japanese shops have signs on their doors saying "OPEN" (in actual English), except when they're closed, when the signs read "CLOSE" (sic). The only thing that stops me going round with a large marker pen and adding an extra "D" is that I'm not sure whether it might be North American usage.
Posted by: ThePenguin | 2008-02-07 08:44