Japlish!

This week I interrupt the tales of my travels to bring up a new topic: Japlish. What is Japlish, you say? Well, it’s an abbreviation for Japanese English, and it refers to words and phrases that are written in English but that really don’t make sense to English speakers. Japlish can be found everywhere – for example, in translations on signs and posters or on T-shirt slogans. It is also sometimes called Janglish or Engrish.

During my time here, I’ve been trying to keep my eye out for interesting and amusing examples of Japlish. Of course, I’m not trying to make fun of Japan, because I know that the exact same thing occurs when English speakers try to use another language. Funny mistakes just happen. So with that being said, here are some snippets of my favorite Japlish findings so far.

First, the slogans found on clothing. The following are all phrases I’ve seen on my students’ shirts:

– “Real Great Team the Braver”

– “Things Are Going Great. Write in One’s Diary.” (Seen on a fifth-grade boy’s shirt.)

– “Lovery Kiss You”

Clothes are not the only source of my Japlish entertainment. Here are some sentences I found in a couple of children’s books about animals and food. First, the warning is to be careful of…the staples, I think:

Next, we have some informative headings:

Yes. Yes, they are.

This one’s a little hard to decipher, as it says the exact same thing in Japanese. I assume it means that I am not good at EATING vegetables. How did they know?

The plus side is that now I know how to say “I sweated much” in Japanese. If I ever want to.

Last but not least, I found an interesting Japlish sign during my visit to Ouchijuku a couple of weeks ago. There were lots of street vendors selling snacks, and this one was selling skewered balls of konnyaku (a gelatin-like substance made from a type of tuber known as konjac). I think they were trying to convey the idea that the skewers were packed full.

Well, that’s the end of today’s foray into the world of Japanese English! If you have any interesting examples of Japlish to share, leave a comment!