Engrish at the 100yen Shops in Japan

On November 19, 2014

Instances of “Engrish,” or “English words or phrases that are translated from Japanese but are almost correct, except for a simple grammatical/spelling/context-related mistake,” are very common in Japanese 100yen shops.

Sometimes the mistakes are very understandable. I’ve seen “furry lamp” written instead of “furry lamb (a small toy animal)” and “croset organizer” written instead of “closet organizer.” Mixing up the L and R is very common in Japan as they sound similar.


Other mistakes, like the “clouds the friendship today songs” stationary I purchased a couple days ago, are what happens when someone grabs a dictionary and translates word-for-word. This lovely blue stationary has the phrase “clouds the friendship today songs” printed at the bottom of every page. It’s wonderful.

Things like these make perfect Christmas gifts for my relatives back in America.

My husband, of course, has mixed feelings about helping me peruse for “Engrish” goodies at the nearby 100yen store. But before you feel sorry for him, just know that he had a wonderful time snapping pictures of (and laughing at) all the nonsense kanji tattoos he saw while we were living in America.


Texan blogger and comic book artist.
  • Phineas_G says:

    I think you are referring to the lovely blue “stationery” 😉

  • zachary T says:

    that’s a neat note pad. I am glad your husband had a good laugh at the kanji tattoos. in high school, I knew a Japanese exchange student, she asked me one day why this one guy ( not me!) had the kanji for “socks” on his hat….I had to explain people just think kanji is cool even if they don’t know what it means, I felt so embarrassed…>_<

  • savvykenya says:

    I see it everywhere, even in the university library! The spelling/literal translation errors..

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