Thursday, July 26, 2007

Let's Pretz!

I'm not sure why it is so often the wordings of japanese phrases and names of things seem so humorous. there is a translation method called katakana, a kind of easy japanese-to-english which may be the culprit. at any rate I found these little delights I'd like to share:

my first morning in Toyama the first thing I saw when I woke up was a pretzel snack sitting by the tv. it was called Let's Pretz.

one time while passing by a bookstore called Book Off I spotted a book in the window titled How To Sex.

some cars in japan look similar to japanese cars here but there many cars we will never see. I noted some of their names: Izuzu Elf, Toyota Athlete, Nissan Cube, the Cedric, and my favorite, a type of van named Scrum.

the names of restaurants: Munch N Crunch, Freshness Burger, and Ducky Duck fit well with the food served: Teryaki McBurger, Aloe Vera Yogurt, Beef Hormone, and Starbuck's fabulous Meat Donut.

to be expected of course are the spelling gaffs such as Korean Babecue but how do you explain a brand of cigarettes called Hope? or the Coca Cola slogan No Reason? I understand the billboard claiming So That Work Becomes Happy, or the Hitachi ad Inspire The Next but have a little trouble with the Camel cigarette ad Slow Down, Pleasure Up or the one that said We Want Your Car Smile! or this one: Thousand Dreams In Our Oven.

but my favorite of all japanese discoveries has to be The Washlet...


  1. I'm pretty sure a Japanese manufacturer sold a car called a Cedric in the UK in the '60s or '70s. And an automotive Elf should be a Riley Elf (pretty much a '60s Mini with a boot).

    And I still have no idea how Bono and Frank Sinatra got a congratulatory telegram from Japan for their cover of Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My ... Chicken".

  2. Kanji is the Japanese name for the set of Chinese characters, the pictographs. Hiragana is the original Japanese phonetic alphabet. Katakana is the phonetic alphabet used mostly for words borrowed from other languages.

    This ends our lesson for today.

    I have no explanation for the strange and wonderful phrases. Or for the existence of corn and mayonaise pizza.

  3. A car named after me? I KNEW I loved Japanese culture for a reason!

    Glad you are back, and safe. I, too, have experienced an earthquake Japanese-style. I was sitting in a coffee shope late one evening, when my mug started to walk across the table by itself. A most unusual sensation.

    Glad we had a chance to talk after the Bears show in St. Louis, and that we were able to clear the not-so-cloudy air.

    Take care. Can't wait for Side 4.


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  5. ha ha,
    that's funny Ade.
    my wife is Japanese & her dad drives a CEDRIC!
    washlets are pretty good, eh?

    also, did you ever walk past a sneaker shop in Japan?
    you can get like 300 different colors of Nikes!

  6. Here is my most interesting recent discovery.

    I guess I cannot embed a graphic so here is the link:

    Even if you cannot read Japanese it does not matter the little arrows tell the whole story of what these tea and cookies are supposed to do for you. Well the sideways one is kind of hard to figure out but imagine a tightening belt and you will get the idea.

    I found this product display in a store in Shibuya station called Ranking RanQueen, whose concept is to stock only products that are the hottest sellers at any given moment. Kind of a retail version of the top 40 heavy rotation concept.

    I have no idea where it is they are supposed to be collecting their stats.

  7. Wonder what international visitors to Nashville think about
    GOO GOO Clusters...with nuts

  8. Interesting, when we were child we also painted pics and shick them together, it is a good work to stimulate creative,keep up work!
    By Air Jordan shoes