embracing 'engrish' (^o^) in Japan

Sunday, July 13, 2014

One of my favourite past times while living in Japan all those years ago was hunting out hilarious engrish examples. Always good for a laugh!

For those of you who are in the dark here - Engrish (イングリッシュ) is a slang term for the misuse of the English language by native East Asian speakers. The word 'Engrish' itself relates to their inability to pronounce the letter L - often substituting it for R. There are a tonne of examples out there - and if you're interested in seeing some I recommend you check out Engrish.com.

It's worth noting that my hunt for engrish has always been in good humour. I'm sure there's a tonne of examples where kanji is used incorrectly in English speaking countries. In particular I think back to the 1990s craze for Asian kanji tattoos. I mean - how many people out there have a tattoo where they don't actually know the meaning?

Anyway... whenever I go back to Japan I always pick up a few engrish souvenirs. There's a lot to choose from! This trip I held onto my restraint and picked up just two t-shirts...

Japanese engrish clothing - Japan
The lip smiles
live in the happy past

Japanese engrish clothing - Japan
SNAZZY
LUDICROUS

Why did I choose these?
  1. The sales girl was very friendly - and encouraged me to try lots on. Often in Japan store staff will ignore you if you're Gaijin in hope that you won't need their help.
  2. The sales girl also thought the t-shirts were very funny, although I couldn't be sure if she was just laughing because I was. She kept pointing, nodding her head and saying 'snazzy', all with a smile :)
  3. The name of the store itself. I mean who could walk past NICE CLAUP?
Japanese engrish clothing - Japan

Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

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14 comments

  1. Haha love these! I often saw weird things printed onto bags and on the outside of shops, wish I had taken photos of them all!

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    1. I know, me too. Sometimes I get really self conscious taking photos. Luckily we have google :)

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  2. I love shirts with funny sayings, especially something that reminds you of a place you've been. I have loads from London. I lived there too...about 9 years ago. :)

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    1. Awesome! Would love to hear what some of your London shirts say!

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  3. I love Engrish! I also love children wearing clothes with English sayings that are totally not made for children. One of my students in Korea had a shirt that said "Alcohol is my best friend!!!" with a drunk panda all over it.

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    1. Oh no - that poor child! I blame Google translate :)

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  4. Haha! These are so great ;)

    Did you see the post I wrote last year that featured lots of Engrish? If not, take a look!

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    1. Hah - great post. Love the "supplementary dog can go"!

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  5. Replies
    1. Have you visited Japan Emma? You would love it... can't recommend it enough!

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  6. This is seriously AWESOME! I like that this phenomenon has a name, and such a fitting on at that. My fav is Snazzy Ludicrous :D

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    1. Yep - and there are a lot of people who collect engrish samples around the world. Once you start googling it's hard to stop!

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  7. There's a fashion brand called Hysteric Glamour. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize it was not an Engrish T-shirt slogan, but a dinkum serious fashion brand. Sigh.

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    1. Ha ha - I shall have to look out for that next time!

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