Our recent exploration of hilarious “English” signs in China, photographed by tourists around the world, was a natural continuation of our popular “Weird and Wacky Signs” series. A friend who once taught English in Japan and China however, told us after a read of the two-part article that while signs in China are indeed funny, they can’t hold a candle to what you find in Japan.
According to this well-travelled individual, Japanese translations are at once direct, harsh, dictatorial and ironically enough, rather sweet and na?ve. Our curiosity aroused, we delved deeper into the world of “Engrish” signs than ever before. Certainly, in our “Weird and Wacky” series we had come across some gems, but this time around, we stumbled upon a treasure trove. Here are some of the best.
We think this sign is trying to tell us something. Something about how good the beef is at this random restaurant. But man, could they make it more indecipherable? And why on Earth would they want to “shut up the taste of beef”?
This coffeeshop has gone creative in an attempt to dissuade smokers from lighting up. We just can’t figure out why. If there is a law against indoor smoking, isn’t this a case of excessive and wasteful politeness?
If you want to exhort people not to smoke, does it make sense to confuse them? “Do not drain it besides paper of equipment”? What?
Here’s where the sweet politeness comes into English translations in Japan. This pastry shop, not content to advertise their wares in a traditional way, added a tender by-line. Unfortunately, it reads as if your slice of pie will come pre-chewed.
There are a few ways to interpret this sign, none of them very reassuring. For one, as a potential customer, we’d fear policemen view the place as a public toilet. Or maybe they’re just dropping by to drop their pants. Whatever the case, we’ll spend our money elsewhere.
When safety counts most, signs in Japan seem to fall flat. “Don’t appear to a verandah”? Come on, make an effort people!
Ah, is there any taste sweeter than milk “nursed in the northern country”? We think not. And are we ever glad a dairy bar finally spelled it out in bold.
One way to ruin a vacation fast is to fall into a pit of rabid, testy macaques. The snow monkeys would smell your fear and presumably, have their way with you. With that in mind, just how effective is this sign?
“Club I Love You”? “Are you free this evening”? Is this what passes for nightlife in Tokyo these days? Question: do the velvet ropes assault you when you enter?
It makes sense to take care of natural treasures, like Mount Fuji and in this case, Mount Koya outside of Osaka. But man, how opiniated can a sign get? Whatever happened to, don’t litter or smoke, subject to a fine, blah, blah, blah. This sign in effect, is equating cigarette-butt-tossing to shoplifting. Hilarious!
Someone went to great lengths to depict these adorable, yet incredibly frightening, monkeys on a zoo sign. We’re sure to have nightmares about them mooning us for weeks to come. The weirdest part about this sign though, is the line: “We do not hope to be such a monkey.” Why the heck not?
The food at this Korean BBQ restaurant must be so good, so tasty and delectable, that the owners gave the task of naming the place to a couple of snow monkeys. Clearly, while no thought went into it, we’re relatively certain the food is stellar. Hey mates, let’s head on down to the Sex Machine tonight! I hear they have killer kimchi!
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