Unbelievable English in Japan
Even though Japan has come a long way from the days when foreigners were seldom seen and English was a language that most Japanese could only read and write, Japanese people still have a hard time using English, as is apparent in this recent sale sign created by a company located in the Shinsaibashi area of Osaka.
Can you believe there is a sign like this being displayed in a store in Osaka, the second largest city in Japan where millions of people live? Believe it! It’s something that happens all the time, maybe not so foul, but the misuse of English is prevalent in all facets of literary use throughout Japan.
In this day and age, when computers and electronic dictionaries are something most have access to, you’d think those wishing to use English would get it correct. That, however, is not the outcome, no matter what their approach. They still get it wrong; so much it has become a sort of cult for foreigners!
Foreigners living, working and/or traveling in Japan cannot go a day without seeing some sort of English faux pas. Many foreigners make it a mission to seek out bad English. Once they find it, they post their findings to the web. Many blogs and websites around the world have been created by native English speakers to display strangely written English on T-shirts, signs, billboards or other forms of English print. It’s amazing how much there is out there! It’s even funnier when you take into consideration the huge number of foreigners that now live in Japan who can provide Japanese with English support if they were ever given the chance.
Most of the grammar mistakes come from people who think they have a good enough grasp of the language to do it on their own. Some might consider them idiots while others might consider them genius, if you taken into consideration the amount of exposure they get from foreigners posting their mistakes. Just look at how much exposure the store in Shinsaibashi is getting as their sale campaign is being splashed across the web on Facebook and websites like this one.
Another reason people in Japan make grammar mistakes, aside from the fact they don’t hire out foreigners to edit their works, is they take words straight from their dictionaries and use them thinking that because their dictionary said it means what they want to say in Japanese that it can be used in English just the same way. Unfortunately, this does not apply to all or most words the English language. Just look at the different words in a Thesaurus and you’ll see how words may be similar in meaning, but are used in different ways at different times. And some words, if used in conjunction with other words, may take on a whole different meaning.
Japanese people would do well to hire out foreigners to edit their English, especially since so many of them now live in the country and work in the English industry. But then again, they might not get as much exposure if their English stopped being funny!