In Japan, you are bound to notice unusual if not straight up bewildering translations of English from Japanese. They are so prevalent that the word “Engrish” was coined just to lump them all together. From local government to expensive ads, somewhere down the line from conception to the implementation, someone never bothered to ask a native English speaker, “does this actually make sense?”
There are several arguments for why this happens—none of which I buy. The obaasan (grandma) running the local curry shop might not care if her English makes sense, and really, we should be grateful she’s even trying to let us know the toilet is broken. When it comes to huge businesses and local governments pushing tourism, though, what’s their excuse?
There are so many English-speaking foreigners in Japan they could hire for translation jobs. I would gladly accept a bowl of ramen as payment for proofreading.
Talk about a continental breakfast. This hotel restaurant in southern Japan’s Kumamoto has discovered a sneaky way of making sure tourists stick to the à la carte menu, but I think someone is eventually going to start asking questions about the chef’s special.
Quick! Warn the perverts!
It’s about time someone stuck up for the perverts…? This announcement found in the dorms of Kobe University says, “chui! Kono fukin de chikan ga tahatsu shiteimasu,” which means “Warning! There are a lot of perverts in this area!” In Japanese, a chikan (groper) is someone who commits sexual harassment. You’ll see a lot of these types of signs where, although they mean well, the message is lost in translation.
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