Japanese Weirdness: Studying English is Really Fung

The Japanese language has, similar to a plethora of other languages, adopted and amended various non-native words and adapted them to fit its standard pronunciations.  Additionally, Japanese is based on (Mandarin) Chinese, as much of Korean is too (that should shut the Sinophiles up for a bit).  Here are a few dainty examples of the aforementioned (read: boring) sentences:  Library, in Chinese-图书馆 tushuguan (for some reason, the first character doesn’t appear on my computer), in Japanese- 図書館 toshokan and finally in Korean- 도서관 doseogwan.  Each of those three characters derives from traditional Chinese, written 圖書館  .  The most common way to say “clown” in Japanese is ピエロ piero, stemming from the French word pierrot.  Any guesses as to how “bread” is termed? パン pan,  originating in Portugal as pão.  Don’t fret, silly ol’ English had its way with Japanese too;  カンニングペーパー kanningu peepaa, coming from “cunning paper,” a tongue-in-jowl way of saying “crib sheet,” or” cheat sheet.”  (This is getting a bit esoteric.  I’ll throw in some good stuff in a minute,  so just hang loose blood)

Though, I think Japan has gone a bit overboard with their adoption of English.  I’d venture a guess that you can nudge an appropriate response out of a Tokyoite or a Fukuokan (Fukuoker?) merely by exaggerating a Japanese accent while speaking English.  Excuse me, Asadachi san, I would like small change for the pancake juice in the vending machine.
(なに nani) What? Ai oo-do raiku sumo-ru cheenji foa za… (わかりました wakarimashita) I understandLet’s practice:  Your ticket to Japan, is it wan-ooey or raundo torippu?  Would you like hurenchi huraizu with your hanbaagaa?  Can I get my tsuna ro-ru made extra supaishii?

We haven’t gotten to the weirdness yet.  The above paragraph might have taught you, to just GUESS in English what you want to say.  But what if you came across something in a language you speak that made you immediately questioned your faculty in it?  Well, then it must either be a t-shirt in China or anything in Japan…


It’s not English, but it sure as heck isn’t Romansch either

I’m not sure if the above would be classified as engrish, (if they weren’t going for “like an edison,” what were they after?), but if you’ve been to/are in Japan and have also spotted unusual occurrences of English/another language that aren’t just bad translations, please feel free to share below.


About buildingmybento

Bread, olive oil Waking up in Nakagin Sure does sound like me
This entry was posted in Human Nature, Japan, pop culture and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Japanese Weirdness: Studying English is Really Fung

  1. adam says:

    i dug her rap

  2. hiwyhi says:

    Have you seen this book called Cone Bun Wah? It’s Japanese the (American) English way http://hiwyhi.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/cone-bun-wah/ I find it hilarious! When I visited Japan, there was tons of funny Engrishes – I attempted to take a picture or make a note of all of them. Can’t remember most of them now, but when I go back to Japan in September, I surely will make it my goal to post about funny language twists and interpretations.

    One thing I do remember was “Please do not pee&poo in the public open space. Children play on the grass and sit on it.” This was a sign in a park.

  3. El Marko says:

    Corean-Style Piquancy Sleeve Fries the New Pork’s Scrag

  4. Pingback: Is My Child Gluten-Free? Cheap Chinese Chingrish « buildingmybento

  5. Pingback: Judging Books by Their Covers | Collateral Lettuce

  6. Pingback: Welcome to Japan. Light Up, Kids. « buildingmybento

  7. Pingback: Fuk…uoka, That was a Weird Night in Japan « buildingmybento


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s