Thursday, January 31, 2008   5:32 PM



Anything written in a script not native to your own country is, by definition, exotic. Of course, in Japan "exotic" linguistic decorations are taken to extreme lengths, but we here in the rômaji-dominated world are also not always immune to the temptations of strange, foreign scripts. Such as with this fashionable laptop bag I spied the other day in an electronics store in Berlin, which proudly bears the name "トウシバ" ("tôshiba", written in the katakana script).

What's wrong with that, you might ask? Well, nothing really - it's spelt correctly, no embarrassing errors. However, in Japan the company of the same name is written either in rômaji ("Toshiba"), or the actual kanji ("東芝") - you'll probably never see トウシバ in normal usage. Also, the font used here would probably have any corporate designer tearing their hair out - to my (design layperson) eyes it looks rather old-fashioned and is somehow slightly mis-proportioned.

The odd thing is, according to the label on the bag, it's actually licensed by Toshiba.

Posted in Orientalish