Engrish… the phenomenon that occurs whenever Japanese advertisers become convinced that they have the literary aplomb to hock their wares with English text. Fortunately, it serves as a boon to us – the stoic masses who yearn to laugh at others' misfortune and writhing attempts at success. Behold, Engrish:

  • Written on a schedule book: "Have a smell of panda droppings. This one is very fragrant."
  • Written on a bottle of water: "Moistens your body rapidly and softens your soul gently. Postonic is life us all."
  • Written on a box of wafers: "We have 600mg calcium in a day to Japanese adults. This calcium wafer contains 300mg calcium for each pieces. And contains ccp that is good protein and stimulate absorption of calcium. We made this wafer's sheet from nutritious wheat embryo. You can enjoy this wafers for" (it just ends here)
  • Written on a coffee mug: "The art of hot. Side by side, I'll be yours forever. Because please don't weep."
  • Written on a store window: "No one really goes to aqua bar for the drinks, but we make sure our drinks won't kill you. This is something you must remember."

You get the idea... for more Engrish, check out http://www.lumine.net/engrish

My Uncle visited Japan when he was in the Navy.

He only took one picture while he was there. It was of a place he ate breakfast one morning.

The name on the sign was:

It's The Shit Fuck Breakfast Attack

I am really not sure if I could eat in a place with a name like that.

On a box of candy: A lovely and tiny twig KOEDA is a heroine's treasured chocolate born in the forest. The sentimental taste is cozy for all the heroines in the town.

On an ice cream wrapper: Please enjoy the flesh taste. This deliciousness cannot be carried even with both hands.

On a t-shirt (with a picture of a lightbulb): What do you think about my shape? I am the beacon of the vegetable.
(I actually own this shirt, and no one has ever asked me what it means. I think they're afraid to.)

Stores with interesting names:

Pet shop--"Gentleman Loser"

Pet shop--"POO"

Hairdresser--"Yayoi Brains"

Restaurant--"Rice of Delicious"

Gift shop--"Time is Bell"

Beauty salon--"Mud Hair Aesthete"

This node already contains enough examples of engrish, so I will not bother adding any. However, it seems to lack a decent explanation as to why this sub-genre of the English language is called "engrish". I know this is obvious for most people with a background in Japanese but for the sake of others, here is the idea:

Engrish has to do with the non-art of dictionary-centered literal translation from Japanese to English and blatant disregard for the existence of idiomatic expressions in either language... but it also has to do with the absolute, utter inability of most Japanese natives to pronounce certain sounds in English.

More than anything, it is impossible for the average Japanese speaker to tell the English letter/sound 'R' from 'L' (hence Engrish instead of English).

This might sound like an exaggeration... and some people are probably wondering how it could be that one might not only be unable to pronounce correctly these letters in English but also to merely tell them apart... And if that is your case, you should try once to make yourself understood by a Chinese speaker (that is assuming you are not Chinese yourself) and see how they will listen, eyes wide open with incomprehension, to your 37th utterance of some basic word and eventually make that "ooh, you meant this???" face, and repeat the same exact sound you've been going for all along. Learning how to pronounce sounds that don't exist in your language has nothing to do with learning to speak the language itself: even the most fluent speakers of a foreign language often retain at least some of their original accent (whether in pronunciation or intonation).

Well, it goes the same for Japanese learning English: it usually takes a very serious amount of practice before they can somewhat master the difference between Western pronunciations of 'R' and 'L'... This makes make a conversation with a Japanese friend sometimes eerily similar to certain Monthy Python's scene ("Barabas, Barabas!").

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