Japanglish journeys: the 100 yen store

While it’s true that Japan is more expensive than many other places in the world, there is always a way to get more for your money. Japan is flush with 100 yen stores everywhere you go, known collectively as 100均 (hyakkin). I have a Lawson 100 just a couple blocks from my house where I buy my natto and bread, most shopping centers have a Daiso, and the annoyingly catchy store-theme-song that they loop over and over inside of Shop 99 (kyuukyuu) has never quite left my head.

Not only are 100 yen shops a kind of messiah for tight-budgeted students, travelers and residents, they are an honest to goodness goldmine for top-quality Japanglish. I imagine some of the products they carry ended up there specifically because the maker realized their translation was rubbish.

Recently I made a trip to the Skyle building Daiso in Sakae, Nagoya… here’s what I came away with.

Do not play it rudely

100 yen shop big plate

Oh, that’s a very nice looking bowl. A little expensive for a 100 yen store item but very nice cracked glaze-work… Let’s look at the usage notice on the back.

100 yen shop big plate warning label japanglish

Okay, I’ll be sure not to play it rudely. But why can’t I use this near the TV? (o_O)

On a side note, I have no clue how they got that first particular English sentence from the original Japanese, which basically says “please do not bump, throw or handle this object roughly.”

Oh look, there are some nice tea pots over there!

Made of Poland

100 yen shop teapots made of poland


100 yen shop tea pot made of poland japanglish

Oh no! My homeland (I’ve got Polish blood) is being turned into value tea pots!!!

I can’t bear to look…. speaking of bears, what’s that I see on those plates over there?

British Bistro Bear

100 yen shop bowls selection

Bistro bear! That dawg. He’s such a lady-killer. I’m actually the proud owner of a bistro bear coffee mug at home, with the same Japanglish on it of course.

100 yen shop japanglish british bistro bear plate

And he’s British, even.

Let’s see… what else is there to look at in this 100 yen store…

Round tray of non-slip processing

100 yen shop non slip trays

Non-slip trays! Just what my shaky hands need. Oh and look, they even illustrated and translated the non-slippage concept for us. Let’s take a look.

100 Yen shop non-slip tray Japanglish

Bag of holding and cloak of invisibility jokes aside though, I’d really better get myself one of these before it becomes such a situation.

On the plus side, this particular English should get points for at least getting its meaning across.

Okay, that’s enough in the kitchen and tableware section for now. Time to move on to something else.

With ass

100 yen shop shopping eco bags selection

A lot of the big department stores in Japan are starting to charge 5 yen each for plastic bags now… maybe I should get one of these vinyl shopping bags. Hmmm, what does that blue one say?

100 yen shop eco shopping bag with ass Japanglish

“With ass”… You almost have to be trying to write Japanglish this good. A classic piece, this one. Truly classic. I would have bought it too if the bag itself were of at least reasonably good quality (it wasn’t).

Here are some shirts…

Possibility of synaeresis

100 yen shop shirts selection

Since we are at a 100 yen shop after all, we’d better check the usage guidelines first.

100 yen shop shirts care notice japanglish

Sin… Syne…. Synaeri…. Syn-ae-re-sis. Synaeresis.

Forget that this word has absolutely no relevance to clothing at all… How in Buddah’s name did they get that word spelled right but then come up with “fluor“?

And what exactly am I supposed to understand from the sentence “separately wash with other clothing.”??

To their credit though, the word “insolate” is actually correct.

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Posted under Japan's "Special" Side, Most Popular Posts by Nihonshock.

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