Parlez-vous Identity Crisis?

New York - Peaman, Yagura

I located this throwaway Megaman character at Yagura Japanese market (now closed) in Manhattan many years ago.  There was no doubt that it was a bell pepper, or capsicum to those of you in the UK, Guernsey and OZ/NZ, and there was also no doubt that the name on the label stated “peaman.”  Who’s doing the translations for this stuff, right?

Well, to tell a family secret, I knew that ピーマン, or piiman meant bell pepper in Japanese.  Though, because that particular character set was used to write piiman, there’s a good chance that it’s called a loanword, thus lacking roots in Japan.  So, what’s the meaning of this?  For starters, increase your vocabulary in two languages.  Such practical information!

Spoiler alert: Piment is the French word for pepper; even though it’s not botanically a pepper, it hasn’t been booted out of the club yet either.  Why Japan chose to adopt the French pronunciation is unknown, moreover I’m not sure why the price tag hasn’t an ounce of Japanese on it, even though the majority of the customers (and staff) were not from the US.  Ah well, at least it costs less than US$350


About buildingmybento

Bread, olive oil Waking up in Nakagin Sure does sound like me
This entry was posted in Food & Drink, Japan, Languages, New York City and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Parlez-vous Identity Crisis?

  1. Biscuit says:

    Haha! I loved this!


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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s