Tokyo Damage Report

April fool’s Engrish!


This is funny in two ways:

1) barbarian pumpkin scone!

2) whoever wrote this was a Japanese that DIDN’T SPEAK JAPANESE!

See, there’s two ebisus: 恵比寿 (a Shinto god of wealth and commerce) and 夷 (barbarian). A simple Google search confirmed my suspicions: there’s only 3 hits for 夷かぼちゃ and hundreds for 恵比寿かぼちゃ. So, clearly there was a mixup on the JAPANESE end of this particular Engrish: the tag SHOULD have read "God of Wealth Pumpkin Scone."

Much more common-sensical, no?

Below: the pamphlet rack on the back of the driver’s seat of a taxicab:

Below: the old slogan for A MINOR FOREST:

Below: one of those things that, six years on, still makes me think "WTF – God damn I love this country!"

 A mascot for a local business. Here is the thought process of the graphic designer:

Bear? Pink bear. Wearing lederhosen? Check.  Surfing? Sure, why not.

What is the name of the business? KOBAYASHI DENTAL OFFICE.

Well, ok then!

 Bonus absurdity:  The damned bear doesn’t have a mouth!

Below: pet diapers.

 Instructions: (note the hole for the tail)


 Seriously? It’s a porno called DOPE? That can’t be, right?

 It’s unclear if the dope is the model or the consumer. That’s the part I like the most.

Below, a mascot for a shoe company:


His name is an unfortunate Romanization of the Japanese word for feet (‘ashi’)



Below, a Japanese translation (finally!) of the Black Metal book LORDS OF CHAOS:

 . . . or is it?. . .

WTF???? How could you fuck up translating something FROM ENGLISH TO ENGLISH?????? 

That is the most . . . . well, anyway. buy it here. if you like your chaos by the load.


Below, a grave:

Psyche ! This isn’t from Japan, but from California. It’s a Chinese-American grave, but the Chinese family name is the Japanese word for "What?"

Show this to your Japanese friends for a good flip-out.

Below: one of the most perfect things in life:

No, not my nipple. A baby’s onesie in the shape of a penguin.

But somehow the ‘penguin’ happens to more closely resemble BOTH a KKK hood AND a Sambo caricature at the same time.

This is some Art Forum shit right here – eat your heart out, Mike Kelley.

I can’t even begin to guess who would be most offended by this:  PETA, Al Sharpton, or the Aryan Brotherhood.

And don’t even get me started about all the shit under his feet.



Below: no idea.




Above: silver ion included!


I’m finna wrap this April Fool’s day Engrish with . . .yet  another amazing Japanese textbook:


but wait – what’s that on the bottom?

I don’t know which is more amazing:

1) that the textbook is ALSO  a gay tour guide, or that

2) Just like "LOADS OF CHAOS", there’s a huge mistake already on the front cover!


Anyway, here’s how it works: the left-hand pages are a dialogue (explaining something about the neighborhood), and the right-hand pages are the same dialogue in Japanese.


For example:


Or. . .


 "What do mean by ‘new half’?" 

What do mean by "textbook?"

What is really distressing is that there is a Westerner credited on the cover as translator: "Paul Nerumu."

"Paul Nerumu," I’m looking you!



14 Comments so far

  1. Baka_toroie March 31st, 2009 12:15 pm


    Japan never ceases to amaze me. And I’ve been learning the language for 5 years.
    “Always ready with a comeback, you fag!”
    Gotta turn that into a meme.

  2. statiq March 31st, 2009 12:28 pm

    Plus the silver ion tissue has “please enter the sentence you wish to translate” written on it in french…

  3. admin March 31st, 2009 5:59 pm

    that is good news!
    Is anyone doing a “engrish in french” blog?

  4. Dario April 1st, 2009 1:27 am

    Gotta love the engrish :-)

  5. kisoku April 2nd, 2009 2:15 am

    the official term for “engrish in french” should be “flench” or “flancais”, and I’d be more than happy to try to collect some of the mind bendinlgy bad flench I’ve seen since I got to Japan for you.

  6. catoneinutica April 2nd, 2009 3:42 pm

    Schultz remains a true god among gaijin. He’s hands-down the funniest and most perceptive English-language J-watcher.

    But what about French J-watchers? Statiq, great catch! It’s as if the package designers thought, let’s slap a bit of French on this motherfucker while we’re at it – doesn’t matter what. While I only know a smattering of French, I get the sense that the way it’s used in Japan would make the Academie Francaise shit silver ions. I’d love to be pointed to any kind of “Engrish in French” blog.

  7. catoneinutica April 2nd, 2009 6:53 pm

    kisoku, your comment seems to have shown up while I was writing mine. I think a lot of us would love to see some of the specimens of mind-bendingly bad flench you’ve run across in Japon.

  8. john turningpin April 4th, 2009 3:36 am

    I’ve seen the hamburger “Shoooot!” sign before. The version I saw actually had the explanatory statement, “This building is like a hamburger,” and went on to point out the various activities available on each of the floors (patties). Friggin’ ridiculous, but there you have it.

  9. Monty April 4th, 2009 7:22 am

    “Do the reggay” is the actual name of the song by the band Toots and the Maytals, a Jamaican group that was one of a few early innovators in Jamaican music, and refers to a specific dance that predates what is popularly conceived as “reggae music”.

  10. Hirayuki April 5th, 2009 6:33 pm

    catoneinutica: The package of wipes has Chinese, Korean, and Arabic on it, too, besides Japanese, English, and French. I noticed many of the store-brand goods at The Daiso (a huge 100-yen chain store) are labeled like this; maybe this is a The Daiso product, too. In this case, at the very least, the inclusion of French (etc.) is not just for looks. Too bad they couldn’t pull it off, though.

  11. statiq April 6th, 2009 8:40 am

    >Is anyone doing a “engrish in french” blog?

    There’s this one:

    The candy of the first page says “Small fart”. Classy…

  12. badtz maru April 19th, 2009 8:05 pm

    Is there an engrish equivelent of badly spoken japanese called niponnjinn or something? that would be funny if you understood japanese.

  13. ronda April 23rd, 2009 3:33 pm

    Hey I’m betting you didn’t buy that book so you can’t take more photos but it would be sweet to have the Japanese side as well so I could learn to say those things in Japanese!

  14. […] Japanese: April Fool’s Engrish (check out the grave!): TDR Reviews the Most Popular Foreigner-in-Japan Blogs: Kanji […]

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