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Found in translation
Have you ever had an article of clothing bearing Chinese characters? Have you wondered what, if anything, those characters meant? Well, maybe looking from the reverse angle we might have an inkling.
I was lucky enough to work in Japan for a year. I kept a diary and noted some of the English found on adverts and various products. Here are a few:
A soft drink called Pocari Sweat. Never found out who Pocari was.
An advert for bread: (in capitals) OUR LITTLE FRIEND 'TOMTE' USE MAGICAL SECRET POWER FOR DELICIOUS BREAD THAT, WELL ENJOY IN THE NEXT MORNING CHILDREN WHO LIVING IN EUROPE TELL US SECRET THAT JUST BAKEN BREAD. YES-------TOMTE'S SECRET HOKUO AS BREAD COUNTRY SAPPORO IS VERY SIMILAR WITH TOMTE'S LAND. The author was ahead of the game in comparison to a lot of native English speakers in being able to use a possessive apostrophe correctly.
On a ring binder: 'It arranges various information rationally, neatly and pleasantly. It makes your office environment progressive. It makes all office workers more bright, creative and intelligent.' Powerful stuff.
Adverts on a Keikyu Line train - 'Quality Life Market', 'Dreamy Flight', 'Magnetic Joyful Toy'.
At the school where I worked there was a Bhuddist monk. He was a very calm friendly man. One day he came in wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word 'Bitch'.
I saw a man with either poor taste or no sense of history' certainly a tenuous grasp of aeronautical physics. On his t-shirt - 'Pilot to bombadier, target will be overhead in 37 and a half seconds.'
At a restaurant sensible instructions: Come in, have drinks, and food, and games, makes a friend....joy yourself.
Behind a cook's head on a wooden cupboard - Excellent fire proof.
On a bag above a picture a sleeping labrador puppy - Don't be scared, take a sleep, lovely animals.
On a Fuji supermarket bag - 'We are determined to render with thoughtfulness and consideration thorough services to our customers and to offer a fresh and highly refined culture for living to people.' Sentiments that would be hard to find in the UK.
'You must be a dab at life'
On the paper sleeve of wooden disposable chopsticks - 'Ecology Earth Effort'
For some reason cigarette machines provoked the most poetic statements:
Smoking is a good friend of mental activities
Being free and easy, your heart makes you enjoy smoking
A figure giving off a woman's shadow
a figure being suggestive of vitality and joys
and sorrows in business
and a figure of a man working hard
are all in enjoying smoking