Nov 28, 2017
There is something about all the signs in Japan that I just find amusing. Sometimes because the translation is odd, incorrect, or straight up inappropriate. Sometimes they are intentionally amusing. They can be the names of stores or posters on trains. Over the 8 years total spent in Japan, I have collected an array of pictures of strange or amusing signage, as I’m sure anyone who has spent any time here will be bound to do.
First off, there are the mistranslations into English. Perhaps the people creating the sign stuck the Japanese in Google translate and wrote down whatever it spit back at them. You often see this on t-shirts and stationary. There is clearly no editorial process and things like this are created.
"It grows in the field and the roadside, and the leaf that deeply tears from the root side to feathered is put out radially.
The scape is extended, and the capitate flower that consists only of a ligulate flower that is yellow or white in the top is opened in March and around April."
You can get the feeling and intention behind the words, yet the meaning eludes everyone. Pure poetry.
Then there are the signs that one word wasn’t used in the correct way. Maybe the writer had some grasp of English grammar and just looked up the word they were lacking in a dictionary.
"Do not touch doubtful things."
While sound advice, I believe the word they were looking for is "suspicious", not "doubtful".
The use of prepositions also seems to be a struggle for many sign creators.
While rushing into the train would be suicide and also not advisible, rushing onto the train can also be just as dangerous and also avoided.
Or there are the stores that think English is cool, so they pick words at random. There is "Starvations", a children’s clothing store; "Banana Cigarrette", also children’s; "Titty", just one because the other couldn’t fit in the clothing on the models in the store. I could go on.
And yet, there are the times when the English is perfect. Almost too perfect.
I don’t know about any of you but my image of a stalagmite is a giant rock formation attached to a cave wall. Carrying one out of the cave would be a magnificent feat. Perhaps their example could have just been a rock.
There are also the signs that amaze me at the person’s understanding of English. So strong that they can hide a pun that only those who understand English will get the joke.
This is the sign for a toilet. Wee see what you did there.
But I think my favorite signage I have seen in Japan is a series of posters. The point of the posters is to teach manners. And they do a fantastic job of it.
The pictures are funny and easily understood by anyone. Thanks, Japan Tabacco for taking the time to teach some etiquette.
There are some instances, however, that the cuteness of the characters takes away from the warning or danger of entering into places. In the States, DANGER is almost always written clearly. Plain, simple. No pictures. The pictures ruin it for me with these because they are dangerously humorous.
I mean this looks like the girl is giving the deer’s bum a flower and the deer is yelling danger at her.
More animals yelling danger. This time a fish.
This last one is marking the end of the park.
Maybe because these are geared toward children, I feel more of a desire to ignore the patronizing bear then follow the main purpose of the sign which would be to go back to the main part of the park.
What are some of the signs you have seen in Japan? Any Engrish you have enjoyed? Perhaps a cartoon character perishing to its death?
Or perhaps one that was humorous only because of the situation. Notice the gap. The door is clearly not closed.
American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too