Asian English Signs

sign 4

I thought I’d have a little fun today and show you some of the more interesting signs that I’ve seen in Japan. Remembering that English is not the first language in Japan, or indeed China (I’ve included a few from there from my 2011 visit) it seems obvious that ‘Google Translate’ is used a little too often when consulting an English speaker may have been advisable.

Interestingly, I received a number of pieces of writing and listen to presentations that had been mostly done through Google Translate or the electronic dictionaries the students often had. I think the key mistake used here – and it works in reverse to (or doesn’t!) is entering full sentences in. To use these tools best, I would advise understanding the sentence structure first and THEN using the translating tools just for the single words you don’t know. Otherwise something like this information sheet I received at ‘Orbi’ (see my review of this strange attraction in Yokohama HERE) is what you get:


sign 8My favourite has to be ‘Slowly larger while to branch outPlease turn with.’

What does this mean? Send your best guesses to ‘’

sign 82

My first thought was – ‘Commutation? Is that really a word?’. And so I checked. And it is. And roughly speaking, it does kind of make sense. Except that I and no-one I have asked has EVER seen it used this way.This was at the Ofuna station on the Keihin Tohoku Line.

sign 83At another station. I made sure that I did not touch ANY doubtful things. Even if they were only slightly doubtful.

sign 81

Apparently many people are secretly shooting villages on video from radio controlled helicopter. First World Problem?

sign 6

‘Seven Stars – Real Smoke’. Real smoke = real cancer I presume. Or maybe that’s just the fake smoke?

These next few photos are from Xi’an, China, which seemed to excel in strange English signs. Great place to visit in China, by the way!


Order slight problem word think I?

sign 2

Now THAT sounds likes an experience!

sign 3I genuinely do not know what they are selling. But clearly buses have a great demand for popular glasses in China.

And finally, my favourite one (because my name is Andrew):

sign 5It’s about time there was a supermarket named after me! This one is from Yanshuo in Southern China. I hope that some of these amused you! Tomorrow, it’s podcast time. Episode Six is ready to rumble, featuring the charismatic Andrew Higgins and we are going to chat about Maid Cafes, Akihabara, Tokyo, foreigners behaving badly and much MUCH more. So please, tune in for that! Until then…

May the journey never end!



4 thoughts on “Asian English Signs

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