Featured Post

Planning a Trip to Japan

You could go the easy route and pay a travel agent to plan your trip but that'll cost you a lot of money, money that you may not even ha...

Friday, January 6, 2017

Weird English in Japan

There are times when Japan intentionally tries to have English available and when they're just trying to sound cool. When it comes to English for menus and such, they typically get it right. But when English is used in fashion or advertisement it can go all wrong. Many of you may be familiar with shirts in Japan that have an English phrase on it. For the most part, you understand what they mean but it still sounds weird. I don't have photos of that because I resisted going shopping (except the Pokemon Center. Blew all my money there). I did go out to eat a lot, and that's where the funny advertisements come in. I found two signs in Japan, both outside of restaurants, that just didn't make sense to me. Maybe you'll understand what's trying to be said more than I do.

Keep in mind that I only have two photos like these because taking pictures when your traveling with another person is very hard. Every time I was trying to take a photo of something we had to stop, so it was starting to get on my husband's nerves. But let's have fun with these two photos anyway.

"Please watch out for the vicious barker!"
This sign was right outside of a restaurant that specialized in serving Kobe beef in Kobe, Japan. It was a very nice restaurant called Mouriya. It was very expensive, but you are paying for what you're getting and that is some really great stuff. The meat just melted in your mouth like butter; best steak ever! So with this being such a classy restaurant why the weird English sign? "Vicious barker" makes me think of a dog but there were no dogs around that I could see. Maybe they have a stray dog problem in the neighborhood? I have no idea. And my kanji skills are not that great so I can't try to translate the Japanese myself (all I understand in the sentence is ください which means please). I have a feeling something was lost in translation because you would think if it was talking about a dog you'd see the word for dog in the Japanese but 犬 (inu) is nowhere in that sentence.

If you'd like to take a stab at figuring this out, please be my guest. Let me know in the comments what you think they're trying to say.

"Wake up Beer!"
What in the world does this sign mean? This sign was in front of a neighborhood bar, or izakaya. The bar is on a secluded side street in the Gion area of Kyoto, Japan. I don't think they meant to say this in a literal sense because how can you physically wake up beer. Do they possibly mean "wake up to beer?" Or maybe that the beer will wake you up? That kind of makes sense, but is still weird because I would not think of having a beer in the morning. (I know people who totally would). Now, underneath that sign is a Japanese sign with prices. Above the prices reads, "生ビール!" Let me break it down for you. 生 (nama) is the kanji for lively, raw, natural. ビール (biiru) is beer. So if we consider the Japanese, "wake up" could mean lively. They should have just used natural in the translation because it sounds like natural English and makes more sense, but that is the beauty of English in Japan.

If you have another idea about this sign or just want to agree with my idea, once again, let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear other opinions on these.

Thank you for taking the time to read this short blog post about Japanese English signs in Japan. I wish I would have encountered more of these signs but my time in Japan was limited and I was moving around all the time. Hopefully I get the chance to do something like this again because I had a lot of fun with these signs.

If you'd like to see more Japan related content from me or just want to have a good time chatting about Japan, follow me on Facebook and Instagram!!! See you in the next blog!