Culture · Culture Shock · Education · Japanese Language · Living in Japan · Teaching

Yesterday I Drank…Viking?

who doesn't want to drink viking?

I have probably already mentioned my distaste for katakana before, but going to a local Chinese restaurant chain the other day reminded me once again just how much it annoys me – that, and just throwing out random English words because “it sounds cool.”

Here are a few examples given by someone on their blog.

English words changed into Japanese English words

PhotobucketRoller coaster ————> Jet coaster
PhotobucketImprove ————> Level up (It’s a verb. As in “I want to level up my English.”)
PhotobucketDo your best ————> Fight (ファイト) (pronounced “faito faito”)
PhotobucketOne on one ————> man to man (マンツーマン)
PhotobucketWindshield ————> Front Glass (フロントガラス)
PhotobucketLaptop ————> Pasocon (personal + computer) (パソコン)
PhotobucketTrend ————> Boom
PhotobucketInnocent ————> naive (ナイーブ)
PhotobucketChapstick ————> lip cream (リップクリム)
PhotobucketFrench fries ————> fried potato (フライドポテト)
PhotobucketCheating ————> cunning (カンニング)
PhotobucketReception desk ————> Front (フロント)
PhotobucketDon’t worry about it ————> Don’t mind (ドンマイ)
PhotobucketOverweight ————> Metabolic (メタボ)
PhotobucketJapanese company employee ————> salaryman (サラリーマン)
PhotobucketDress ————> one piece (ワンピース)
PhotobucketCar horn ————> klaxon (クラクション)
PhotobucketComplimentary item ————> Service (サービス)
PhotobucketHair salon hair ————> make shop
PhotobucketElectrical plug ————> Consento (コンセント)
PhotobucketAutograph ————> sign (サイン)
PhotobucketBuffet / all you can eat restaurant ————> Viking (バイキング) (I actually had a kid write, “I ate a viking after school with my mother yesterday” in an essay)
PhotobucketTo get engaged ————> goal in
PhotobucketApartment / condominium ————> Mansion (マンション)
PhotobucketStapler ————> Hotchkiss (ホッチキス)
PhotobucketWedding aisle ————> virgin road
PhotobucketMechanical pencil ————> sharpen
Photobucketmakeup / cosmetics ————> Make (メイク)
PhotobucketTranssexual ————> new half
PhotobucketMicrowave ————> range (レンジ)
Stroller ————> baby car (ベビーカー)
PhotobucketShort hair cut ————> shortcut (ショートカット)
PhotobucketUpgrade ————> version up (バージョンアップ)
PhotobucketMcDonald’s ————> Makudonarudo (Why didn’t they spell it 三クダ-ナルズ instead of マクドナルド? And Ronald McDonald’s name is changed to Donald McDonald, which is funnier than anything)
PhotobucketSmart ————> slim (in English it means “intelligent”)
PhotobucketStyle ————> body type (in English it means “fashion sense”)

Now that you know some katakana, you can say cool sentences like this:
-I want to level up my style so I can be smart enough to fit into an S one piece.

-Supermodels are almost all very smart people.

-That metabolic girl who lives in my mansion wears so much make that she looks like a new half.

-Where’s the consento in this mansion? I need to use it for my pasocon.

In my elementary school lessons, I have a special activity where we talk about katakana and loan words in general. You would be surprised how many children are 100% sure that asking for “shou cream” (pronounced like shoe cream) will not give you a delicious pastry but some cream for your shoes. Katakana is frustrating in many ways, but what annoys me the most is that Japanese memorize words and expressions that they believe to be English but are not. Trying to fix the problem is downright impossible and, what’s even worse, I have started using some of these expressions and words making me forget how to speak “real” English.


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