A Selection of Splendid Shirts

Posted March 8, 2006 at 6:59 pm 6 Comments

Nintendo DS Colors


The Japanese version of the Nintendo DS comes in colors not available in the US (turquoise blue, candy pink, and graphite black), so naturally I needed to buy one while I had the opportunity. Then I needed some games to play on it, but I had to make sure that the games I bought didn’t rely too heavily on knowing how to read Japanese.

I first game I picked up was Castlevania DS, which I found fairly playable in spite of the Japanese dialogue — of course I couldn’t really follow the plot, but I was still able to make it through the game, and I felt pretty cool for completing it several months before its US release date. The next game I tried was Yawaraka Atama Juku (“Gentle Brain Exercises”), a cute and surprisingly addictive quiz-style game.


Yawaraka Atama Juku offers a collection of puzzles and brainteasers, separated into five categories: think, identify, compute, memorize, and analyze. Once you’ve completed a run of tests, the game displays a radial graph showing your brainpower in each category. This “brain map” is accompanied by a letter grade that describes what type of brain you have — a “doctor’s brain,” or “artist’s brain,” for example.


Yawaraka Atama Juku

Brain Map

Here is my brain diagram. You’ll notice that I did well in identify, memorize, and analyze, but my score in think was terrible. The reason for this is simple: the think category consisted entirely of word puzzles in Japanese. Given that I study computer science, my 66% in compute may seem strange, but there’s a simple explanation for this as well: one third of the problems in the compute category were word problems in Japanese. So really the main piece of information we can take away from this brain map is that I totally suck at Japanese.

I felt obligated to point this out before posting another round of Engrish pictures, just so you understand how difficult it is to translate between the two languages. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I’m really in no position to criticize Japanese attempts at English; if I were asked to design something in Japanese I’m sure I would produce something even worse than these specimens. Still, I think that some of them are just too interesting to keep to myself.

I had spent some time browsing engrish.com before leaving for Japan, but I was under the impression that the photos it contained were examples of rare and precious Engrish gems. What I soon discovered was that these examples of Engrish were simply everywhere, T-shirts being the most prominent example. First there were the shirts with simple typos or R/L inversions — shirts that said “Jesus Crist,” for example, or the shirt I saw with a stylized picture of some palm trees, beneath which was written “MARIBU.” But then there were examples like these, which really go a step beyond and lead you to wonder what exactly the shirt designer was thinking.

Knights of Round Table
Funny, I thought they were around earlier than 1986.
Valid to Mod New York
"Valid to Mod New York"
"It goes to get a haircut after a long time."
Light of a Town
"An orange Streetlight Very much."
Excite Action

"Die instead of those who also perform etal. shedding tears, this bacillus guy Waste! It returns to the country, inhales and sleeps also on a mama’s milk!  It is crazy!  Therefore, local of is diagreeable!  EXCITE ACTION and it is waste and there is no existence value and war and anything is those guiltless!  Brains of fucker! Shrewd smell a crow. This mother complex guy!  It will kill a front Terrible impudent shelf. It is shaken if you etc. and, naturally is what! Also do masturbation, It sex with that child in the face of you."
"Like flowers love the sun but even more
And fill my heart with love
for only you… When she grooves"
Wakeful Terrors

Pure Fragile

Invaluable to Me
Stepping it Hotter
"Creation of new world standard, clearing previous
I think it’s supposed to say "UPGRADE," as in, "Time to upgrade my elegance with this awesome shirt."
I’m not sure what a "drilling convention" is, but it appears that if you attend one, 139 is a respectable score:
"The drilling convention WAS done all together LAST NIGHT. My SCORE was 139. It is not BAD!"

Directions to Impressive

I once heard of a Japanese guy who came to study in the US and paid his way through college by selling American toys to wealthy Japanese collectors who were fascinated with American oddities. He would go to the Toys ‘R Us and take pictures of all of the cheap toys, and post them for sale on the Japanese equivalent of eBay at hugely inflated prices. Whenever he got a buyer, he would go back to the store, purchase the item, and ship it to Japan. This allowed him to distribute a large selection of toys with no initial investment. I could imagine a operating similar business with strange Japanese T-shirts, crossing the Pacific in the opposite direction. Now I regret not buying any of them — they would have made great novelty gifts.


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  1. I love the new site! But then again, I loved the old one, too.

    I thought of you today because I ran into your friend Amul at the local Trader Joes. Too bad we don’t have exciting stores like the ones in Japan.

    Feel free to skype me! (skype id: themeparkphoto)

    Comment by Robert — March 9, 2006 #

  2. http://www.rahoi.com/2006/03/may-i-take-your-order.php

    manglish, and good.

    Comment by Helen Macdonald — March 10, 2006 #

  3. could the top right one be getting at cousin itt?

    Comment by superpomme — March 22, 2006 #

  4. See what I mean? Marshmallows or books?

    Comment by Heidi — March 29, 2006 #

  5. don’t forget your own chopstick experience: http://www.monzy.com/?p=71

    Comment by berson — April 17, 2006 #

  6. The category you’re calling “think” at the top of the pentagon is actually “language” so that might explain it.

    Comment by Collin Jackson — June 5, 2006 #

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