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The Joys of The Joys of Engrish

Updated on February 11, 2018
SgtCecil profile image

I am an expat living in Japan. Everyday is an adventure and a blessing. Here are some of my experiences

What is Engrish?

The front cover of The Joys of Engrish
The front cover of The Joys of Engrish | Source

What is Engrish? Engrish is English gone wild! Engrish is when English attacks! Engrish is English destroyed in seconds! Simply put, Engrish is when non-native English speakers use English to reach out to others... with hilarious results.

Engrish often focuses on foreign media published by professionals; places we expect everything to be proofread and corrected. I mean, how hard can it be to email a few samples to a liberal arts major in an English-speaking country to get something right?

However, as an expat living in Japan, Engrish is all around me. I'm still fascinated by it. It's the reason I always have my camera with me, even when I go grocery shopping. It always surprises me, probably the same way a haiku written in English or the newest American sushi roll will surprise a Japanese person.

For those who don't live in foreign countries, "The Joys of Engrish" by Steve Caires shows us Engrish at its finest and most sublime. It is a collection of images from around Japan of signs, clothing and other places that Engrish can strike.

It shows us the power of a fearless pop culture, running full speed on all cylinders, throwing caution to the wind... and why it's best to wear a seat belt. It's hilarious!

But why bother with English at all? I mean, people in Japan should communicate in Japanese, right? Well, they do but as my friends tell me, "English is cool." It is an exotic medium of communication that instantly reaches out to the younger generation--what could go wrong?

But don't get the wrong idea

Not from the book but you get the point
Not from the book but you get the point | Source

"The Joys of Engrish" doesn't show what goes "wrong." See, a few might be offended. After all, laughing at the mistakes we see in others who are new at something is not cool. But that's not what the "Joys of Engrish" is about. It's the opposite.

Japanese people start learning English from a young age. Many are fluent in it. Yet, certain English words with sounds and meanings can form something of profound beauty in Engrish. This is something that a native English speaker will never grasp.

Below are examples straight from the pages of the "Joys of Engrish." You'll also find a few doses of Engrish I came across while living in Japan. You won't find these anywhere else but here. Oh, be sure to come back to this article, I'll be updating it with new photos.

Then below that is a video showing us that Engrish can also find itself in anime. It's about eight minutes long and you won't stop laughing. Enjoy!

Check this out!

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Back cover of the book
Back cover of the book | Source
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Page from the book | Source
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Page from the book | Source
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Page from the book | Source
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Engrish in anime!

Where have you been? What have you seen?

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