Strange Japanese English


My apartment (the old one) is in an interesting location, because it is just about equidistant from two different malls, one being the largest in the Kanto area of Japan, IIAS. While walking through the mall, I saw the sign for a store that made me stop in my tracks. The name of the store was “Starvations”…I am not joking…this isn’t photoshopped…it’s real. I just couldn’t let this one slide, I had to take a picture. I guess the person creating this clothing store was either being funny with the sign, or was trying to put Star and Innovations together. I mean, that’s a creative idea and all, and I’m sure it’s a wonderful store, but you HAVE to get a second opinion before posting signs like these. I found it to be extremely funny, and I think this happens in Japan more often than people think. I don’t know if you remember that sign I saw at the movie theater (in this very same mall), but it said “No molester violence.” I took a moment to walk around and look at some of the store signs that were written in English, too. There were no “offenders” that were as extreme as Starvations, but there were a couple of stores with odd signs, or ones that didn’t make a whole lot of sense:

This one wasn't so bad, it could be a cute way of saying delicious.

Very very what? Very very good? Very very awful? I guess they leave it open-ended for the customer to decide:)

This one isn't a big offender either, it just sounded slightly awkward...suntanned glamour...hmmm.

Leap Lippin? What the freak does that even mean? Is it supposed to be more sensual advertising...(in a sultry voice)...Leap Lippin...jump into fashion. Or is it supposed to be more fun Let's all go leap lippin!! I'm not sure exactly.

Is this a store for plus size women or for adult clothing and toys?

Having been an English teacher here for three years now, I know that R and L sounds can be difficult for my students to say and transcribe. I can't help but think that's what happened here (unless it's joke). Judging by the picture of the Globe in the logo, I wonder if Grobe is really what the sign maker was going for.

How about you? Have you seen any weird English signs here in Japan? What’s the strangest, weirdest English sign you’ve seen? I’d love to hear your stories? You can email me or post in the comments section below.

Donald Ash

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