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Saturday, November 27, 2004


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Claire (クレア)

About five years ago, I saw a canned coffee vending machine in Osaka. It sold only one brand of coffee, which had an embarrassing English euphemism as its name. As coffee can sometimes produce this effect in people, I wondered to my friend if this particular canned coffee tasted like "it" or gave you "it". The brand name was "BM", which is a short form of the term "bowel movement". I think a kind native English speaker told the Pokka company that this was not a good name for their coffee...

Now there is a brand of chocolate with an unfortunate name. This chocolate comes in an 18-piece box. I did not bring it to my office for omiyage, because I would be very embarrassed to say to the men I work with, "Would you like a piece of Asse?" (There are not very many women who work in computer networking...)


ha!! I love these kinds of errors..to me it is an honest depiction of languages inadequcay..not at all the fault of the person making ther attempt. Personally I think that more of the native English speakers would benefit from exposure into the hazards of using an unfamiliar language..I personally have had a mishap involving the vietnamese name Vu~, and another less namelike word Vu' with a rising tone...it was sort of embarassing. Personally I wouldn't mind learning a language like Italiano since I would finally know the meaning behind all the yelling my grandmother did at me when I was younger...though on reflection..er maybe not. I enjoy learning languages,and to me it is impressive if a person is brave enough to make the attempt, so I am impressed with this magazine and it's contents even so much that we get a glimpse into something like this. Proofreading?? You mean you dont do all this yourself?? I'm shocked. ;) You would be godlike indeed to write all this and not delegate some of the translation..heck I need a whole staff of translators just to correct my spelling errors. I think the thing that keeps many people from learning Nihongo is the reading. Kanji, Katakana, Hiragana, Kana...let alone conjugation and all the linguistic mechanics..then there's the mater of acquiring vocabulary. Daunting, especially to people who never have to go outside of their linguistic "comfort zone". Let's face it, Americans in particular, and English speakers in general are spoiled by the rest of the worlds willingness to accomodate our ignorance. So while this is a humorous result, it is nevertheless a beautiful thing..valiant even. Personally I like the innovations found in foreign adaptation of language.. a whole new concept to link with syntax construction. language is fun. and not nearly as formulaic as math..which is harder to be creative with and still follow the basic rules. I enjoyed this posting Mari..very humorous and yes, very inspiring. I think I'll pause throwing any stones until I have mastered Nihongo, and Italian at least. ciao for nyao, ja ne! molti gratsi, cam o'n nhieu la'm! merci, danke,donde es el bano, mas cervezas por favor. ;p

Fly Molo

I remember that in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo there are small pillars with the words "Chiyoda City: Yes, we love" on them. And an art museum (can't recall the name right now) had signs posted over the "Eixt" doors. But, then again, most of my "Japanese" T-shirts have a kanji or two misprinted.


cool! I keeping laughing while reading at this. This is the price to pay for a so commonly used language as English, after all it's abused and torturated but foreigners like Japanese and Italians too (I often abuse it making mistakes or simply creating new words I assume are English). I saw something like "You are invited to take advantage of the chamber maid." on alert signs in train station, something like automatic English translation? English native speakers will have to forgive us...or they will have to start learning Japanese and Italian...^_^

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