Wednesday, 08 February, 2006
Odd Signs in Japan
English seems to be an effective marketing tool in Japan, but they don't always do a good job with the translations. I guess I could leave it to the pros at engrish.com, but I just have to point out a few things.
"Holstein" is the name of a women's clothing store near the hotel in Osaka. I don't think you could get away with this in the U.S. unless your wife's name was "Bessie." I actually went looking for this shop because I saw a sign that said, "Holstein sale," and there was a picture of a cow-spotted box that reminded me of the Gateway Computer boxes. I just had to see what they were selling.
The poster on the left was in the window of a pachinko/slot parlor. I think it was adversiting the new slot machines. If you look below the Kanji on the poster you'll see the English: "Super Exception Great Sea Story." I think something was lost (or perhaps added) in the translation.
I don't really know what "fight the power" is supposed to mean, but if it's intended to get the Japanese to step out of their strict conformity, if even for a moment, then I'm all for it.
The Royal Bank of Scotland has a presence in Japan. Their new marketing slogan, "Make it happen," is backed up by an interesting Rube Goldberg contraption. Click on the RBS logo there to the right and check it out. That display was in Tokyo Station.
This is part of a sign on the bathroom door in my hotel room. The sign requests that guests close the bathroom door when taking a shower, lest the steam set off the fire alarm. The translation (click on the image here) is actually better than many that I've seen. It's not perfect, but it's perfectly understandable. And yes, steam will make a fire alarm go off. I've seen it happen in hotel rooms that are a heck of a lot larger than this one. I ripped the smoke alarm off the wall in my house years ago because taking a shower would regularly set the darned thing off.
"Ducky Duck" is the name of a restaurant that's across from the sushi place we visited on Monday. I got another chuckle a few days later when I saw one of their delivery trucks.
I don't want to make the individual entries too big, so I'll stop here for now. I have plenty of other pictures to post, but hate just putting the pictures there without some commentary.