Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slightly Off

While at times disorientating and confusing, one of the things that never ceased to amaze me in Japan was the strange English that would be used on: T-shirts, stationary, menus, signs, food packaging, magazines, advertisements and well, on anything really. Whether misspelled, grammatically incorrect, nonsensical or just plain awkward, it was usually a welcome surprise to see English used in such odd and unexpected ways.

It’s not that correct English isn’t used in Japan, it’s just that the weird English is more memorable. Slightly off English was such a common occurrence that after a while it hardly registered to me unless it was really off. Much of the odd English usage was just mildly amusing and then quickly forgotten. [Although one instance is forever ingrained in my mind; I was shopping at a department store and saw a T-shirt with “Star F**cker” written on it (except it was actually spelled out properly). That rather stunned me because it was so unexpected, and perhaps I would have bought it for the shear novelty of it if it hadn’t been so ugly.]  

So I don’t really have tons of instances of random and unexpected English usage (since I didn’t buy things specifically for that reason; I bought things merely because I liked them). But here are a few random or slightly off uses of English:

Above: Pocket Note inner page

Two above photos: Strawberry Cones Pizza ad

Above: Tobu World Square brochure

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