Odd signs in Japan


So, in Japan there are so many crazy signs, I still can never get bored with them. Sometimes I will purposely go on a walk just to find some new ones. There are many I have left out of this article as there are just too many. Maybe I will do a part two? I decided to address each sign with a breakdown of what each one means or why it is an annoying sign.

When I first arrived in Japan, I approached a sign shop and offered my services to correct their English on a sign by sign basis. The answer I got was this “we use google translate” I will leave it at that!

The first sign I want to address is the one above called “FLESH FOOD” WTF is that?!? Quite simply the Japanese version of the ‘r’ type of sound, the ra ri ru re ro row in the phonetic hiragana alphabet, is somewhere between L and R. So, light gets pronounced right and long sounds like rong. So, the first image obviously should say FRESH FOOD.

The next sign amuses me as they are advertising the fact that they can speak English and foreigners are welcome. Well if you look at the spelling of “SPEGKING” it makes me wonder.

This sign interests me. Do we really need to be told that we should be carful in hot and humid weather? Isn’t it obvious? Also, it is all in English which means it is directed at foreigners. You may thing what’s wrong with that? I will tell you; it is because during the crazy hot and humid summers it is Japanese people that die from heat attacks not foreigners. This is because they think they can do what they normally do. Or they think it is still 1960 and all they needed was a fan. Also, “don’t tell me what to do”

So quite obviously it says don’t throw pet bottles here. I like the graphics of a young guy dressed like a lout and my favourite part is the hair colour…. notice it isn’t black? What does that tell you? Maybe I am paranoid but hey that is aimed at foreigners as well. This is because Japanese people would never dump rubbish…. NOT.

This one is gold. It is basically saying “Do not hassle people to go to your restaurant” and “Don’t ask women to become prostitutes” Well not exactly but to work in a girl’s bar is the same thing eventually. I will be writing about the dark side of Japan shortly.

So, what grabs me about this is that at any given time there so many restaurant people doing this, and nothing is said EVER. It is tax revenue don’t forget so apparently a sign makes it okay to not actually bother saying anything. The men trying to get women to work in a girl’s bar are hilarious! I love it…They are dressed like… hard to describe but their hair is spiky like sonic and usually orange. It must take a day to get it right. Their shoes are black leather and a spiky toe, they always carry a stupid man bag and they just approach women like they are meat for sale at a market. The most annoying thing is that they WILL NOT quit until the girl takes a leaflet. Watching them do this takes a piece of my belief in humanity.

This is funny and kind of sad. Someone lost their pet bird and put up flyers to try and get it back. The thing that made me giggle was “WANTED BIRD” LOL just use Japanese!!! I do wonder what happened as the sign is very old now.

This is Pepper! A robot that is used in cell phone stores. Lately Pepper seems to be used in shops as well. Some people get really creeped out by Pepper. I was standing close to it once and it told me to back off LOL. So, in true Japanese style, they decided to get one for their café to entice people to come there. I don’t really get it myself but hey.

So, we get to one of my favourites; BICYCLE RULES. You will notice I put an X in all the boxes. This is because 98% of all Japanese people DO NOT DO THESE RULES. It must be one of my pet peeves. I am getting T-shirts designed to sarcastically say “get on the left”

We get to the trains. If you have already visited Japan, you will know what I am saying. If you haven’t been here yet, you will understand J So it shows someone with a bag on their back hitting someone with it, then swinging it round and then to her front…. Part 1 and 2 are correct, part 3 IS NOT. It is so annoying when a baseball team of teenagers’ pile in and throw their overly sized bags on the floor in a sort of circle and then other bags on their backs getting in everyone’s way. I have so many near fights with these arrogant f&’*+*!

Finally, we get to an assortment of very old signs from the 60’s & 70’s. I like these, maybe because I love old Japan.

Article written by David
Photos by David


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