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As reported in Junbungaku, the Japanese Literature Publishing Project is getting shut down. They had just held their first translation competition, which now appears to also be their last. Well, I guess there is always Kurodahan Press.

Before:

Ishinomaki, Miyagi

After:

Ishinomaki, Miyagi

Images copyright: (Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images) and (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)

See more of the click-through before and after pictures at the Big Picture.

The story here

The above is hardly advertising at its best. But the value of this particular example lies in what it reveals about Japanese workforce’s mastery of the English language, as well as foreign staff–both are missing. Yet a blind infatuation with the exotic, foreign–read English–cool persists. The combination of the above lack of English and grasping attempts to harness its cachet precipitate the very definition of SNAFU, and the above harlequinade provides just a single example from a multitude. Rest assured this is the normal situation in Japan.

Also note that the store in question was in Osaka, the second-largest metropolis in Japan after the Tokyo-Yokohama megasprawl (Gibson fans may include Chiba). A similar display may be forgiven in Boonie-mura, Inakaville (pop. 1 man). Granted this Galerie store appears to be in Shinsaibashi, on Osaka’s southside, which has a bit of an edge. But this is s till a howler.

This is, of course, not a rare instance of inadvertent use of offensive English. The article might have mentioned a certain chain restaurant called First Kitchen, or fa-suto kicchin, which, contracted, went the way of Brad Pitt (Burapi) and the non-Osaka McDonald’s (makudo). Nothing like walking down the street and overhearing:

A: “Hey what you want to do?”

B: “Let’s go fakkin!

Though the kitchen affair is at least an honest mistake. Not that the sale sign is really outrageous; Japanese people by and large have trouble comprehending expletives fully on a conceptual level, so even for that I could lift some of the blame. But this bit of news does tell us about foreign staff in Japanese companies the same thing the iPad told us about female staff at Apple. If there was an English speaker on staff (or German, Swedish, hell, French would do), the Daily Mail would have been a story short. Unless of course that English speaker was chef Ron Silver.

Maybe they could have picked on the Colbert Report (Jan. 11, 2012), when its editors chose to illustrate the discussion of the risk posed to New York, London, and Tokyo by earthbound debris of a Russian satellite with photos of the Empire State Building (New York), Big Ben (London), and Kinkakuji (Kyoto). Oh, that there were only anyone on staff with some knowledge of Japan, or a Wikipedia connection.

You heard it here. Japan relinquishes its hegemony over all things cure to–of all places–Slovenia.

Have you ever seen anything this adorable?

That’s right.

 

http://corterleather.bigcartel.com/product/for-japan

If you are in Japan donations to help relief efforts are easy enough to make through the Post Office ATMs, or the many convenience stores. But for those who don’t have to time to figure out how to make a donation from abroad, need a little incentive, or all of the above, but still want to contribute, here is a nice way of doing so. And it is incomparably more aesthetically appealing than those silly-looking colorful rubber things

For the next week or two, Corter Leather (handmade in New England) will be offering a special “For Japan” edition bracelet. Each one is $20, and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross towards relief efforts in Japan. The bracelet comes in three sizes, is a natural 9 oz bracelet, with a hand painted red button to show support. Each comes in a nice cloth bag. Out of respect, there is no branding, no fancy packaging- just a reminder to help and remember.

Others have already mentioned this opportunity: http://neaststyle.com/2011/03/14/japan-by-corter-leather/, http://dreamsofperfection.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/corter-leather-for-japan-bracelet/, just to mention a few.

春の波

おだやかなれよ

彼岸潮(ひがんしお)

逃げ水ならば

胸痛むまじ

–M.I.

Hope THIS GUY didn’t steal anybody’s name…

See the Murakami Haruki short story published in the New Yorker, and available in a collection of short stories, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

If they had Darwin Awards for criminals and bad-ass awards for 18-year-old girls this would take the cake:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20100531p2a00m0na010000c.html

More from the Mainichi on the Koyanagi File (interviews with WWII naval officers) mentioned in an earlier post. The documents are due to be released this month.

For a bit of levity. Check out the slideshow here from Global Post, and try to keep a straight face while reading the captions. Whoever wrote the captions had a rascally sense of humor.