As you may have already guessed by now, Japan is a weird place.
Let’s take snacks for example. First, if you were to utter snack in Japan, many people might think you are on a fast-track to a スナック (sunakku), a claustrophic, smoke-filled bar often located in red-light districts. Strange, right? Well…可笑しい (okashii) often means funny, and it also means strange, but if you chopped off the last letter and arrived at お菓子 (okashi), you’d have the English word your stomach is looking for, snacks.
On the same topic, have you heard of Lotte? It’s a Japanese company founded by a Korean national named for a character in a German novel, and they are most well-known for their snacks. Wouldn’t that be something if they operated スナック that only served Lotte-branded お菓子? Let’s find out…
Continuing with our Japanese language lesson, we’re now going to dive right into somewhat crude territory. In Manhattan the other day, I was passing through a Korean supermarket when Kancho, the product on the left, stopped me in my tracks. To be honest, I chuckled a bit.
Yes, kancho in Japanese has a few meanings– 官庁 (government office), 灌頂 (akin to a Buddhist baptism/rite-of-passage) and 館長 (superintendent/curator) are but three of its definitions. But how can we be so sure they weren’t going for 浣腸, which means enema…? You probably shouldn’t think twice about what that mascot represents.
The situation became murkier as I came across D’asses, the old standard of Japanese convenience stores.
So, who’s up for some sushi?