Sunday, October 23, 2011

Things I've learned in Japan, Part Three: Japanglish

There is a language in Japan that's not Japanese. It's fairly new, and like all other languages, it's constantly evolving. Japanglish is not a mixture of English and Japanese, as you would probably suspect. It has become it's own monster. There are words that sound familiar, yet do not make any sense, when you really think about it.

For example;

"Winkers" - The lights on your car. This is a somewhat bastardization of "blinkers," but it sounds more a description of a passive-aggressive pervert.

"Bed-town" - A suburb just outside of the city, where people only go to sleep. There is nothing in a "bed-town" but apartment buildings, houses and convenience stores.

"Handle" - Your steering wheel on your car. Not what I expected.

"Paper Driver" - Someone who owns a driver's license, but has never driven a car. There are millions of people like this in Tokyo, since it's simply too expensive to own and maintain a car in the city.

"Front-glass" - The windshield of a car.

"Mansion" - A large apartment. The stereotypes are true... housing is really THAT expensive, apparently.

"Baby car" - A baby stroller. NOT a tiny car driven exclusively by babies.

There are some words in Japanglish that aren't even recognizable;

"Pakoson" - A lap top, or personal computer

"Jewry" - This actually just means "Jewelry". But no one can say Jewelry, so they just started spelling it like that. Out of context, and with a Japanese accent, this one sounds rather Anti-Semitic.


I've been taking a great deal of pictures of nature lately, and even managed a trip up to Nikko (a national park) to see the leaves turn pretty colours. Allow me to share:

Lots and lots of old things and nature. Lots. And. LOTS.

This whole area has been around for thousands of years. Some of it has remained exactly the same, which gives the entire area an eerie timeless feel that inspires peace and awe. Makes you pretty insignificant, when you see this stuff;

That's just one tree.

This is a super-old and super-pretty bridge that is so special that you have to pay to simply walk on it. I chose to use the zoom function on my camera instead. But that water was SO BLUE!

And then there's the rest. And it's all silly things. They're all silly things because I've been in a rather silly mood lately. So there.

So silly... and yet... kinda creepy.

I found these "sunglasses" in Thailand. I love them.

For those of you that don't know... Tommy Lee Jones is an advertising whore in Japan. He's everywhere, usually slinging coffee or deoderant or cheese or whatever. It really doesn't matter, as long as the paychecks keep rolling in, I suppose.
 My friend is putting things in his mouth for the camera again! Qu'elle surprise!
 Baby monkeys! There's a restaurant where the owner trains monkeys as a hobby, and they just hang out near the tables. The monkeys are totally comfortable with strangers for the most part, and one of the older ones even put on a show! She danced and balanced precariously... I have the pictures somewhere, but I can't find them right now.

 I've met some friends. Please ignore my face.
 I caught him having an argument with a maniquin. I wish I could say it was the first time....
 Bull riding, anyone?



Okay, I think it's time to stop this madness.


  1. >"Pakoson" - A lap top, or personal computer

    Maybe you accidentally misspelled...but it's "Paso-kon"

    Also, "Remo-kon" means "Remote Control".

    >"Jewry" - This actually just means "Jewelry". But no one can say Jewelry, so they just started spelling it like that

    Not to nitpick, but "jewelry" in Japanese is 「ジュエリー」("jyuerii")...I imagine some people could write the Japanese spelling as "jewry"...but it's pronounced very similar to "jewelry".

    Other car terms in Japanese...
    "Klaxon" means "car horn". It's a German car horn company's name.
    In Japan, the U.S. term "trunk" is used for the rear storage area...but the U.K. term "bonnet" is used to name the area the houses the engine.

    Anyways, how long have you been in Japan?

    "Tokyo Five"

  2. "not to nitpick, but..."
    That kind of start to a sentence makes me smile. And thank you for the added Japanglish tango! I especially like "Klaxon."

    I've been in Japan since March, and I still have a toddler's grasp on the language. My blog is full of mistakes, I'm sure, but I'm far too lazy to go through and edit properly. We're all just gonna have to deal. But thanks for the interest!