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Tweet of the Week #57: Engrish Mistake Offers Restaurant Customers a Free Wife

Learn all about the word なんだ with this week's viral tweet.

By 2 min read

Struggling with hiragana and katakana? Well, if it’s any consolation, just know that many Japanese people have an equally intense love-hate relationship with English. Or should we say Engrish? For better or for worse, misspelled words in romaji are legion in Japan creating a landscape of hilariously awkward t-shirts, menus, signboards, and advertising slogans.

Take this week’s viral tweet as a prime example.

Genius marketing trick or unfortunate error?

As he was walking by a restaurant signboard @ymdandU couldn’t believe his eyes. Above the mouth-watering menu advertising beef cutlets (ぎゅうカツ), pork cutlets (とんかつ) and fried oysters (牡蠣かきフライ), a red and white sign indicated that the store also offers a free wife.

Wait, what?

なんだなんだなんだ = What, what, what?!

Looking closer, a tiny typo before the verb あります completely changes the meaning from “there is Wi-Fi” to “there is (a) wife” [in this restaurant].

Under the unfortunate misspelled line, “充電じゅうでん OK” implies that you can charge your electronics for free. But—and that’s the magic of the Japanese language—you could stretch the joke as far as suggesting that it’s “OK to charge (your wife).” Lulz.

Enthusiastic response quickly propelled @ymdandU’s tweet into the spotlight.

Lonely heart @hajimsta was well up for it.

ください(わら) = Please! (lol)

@tty1971 admitted international marriage is tough.

うちにも、中国産ちゅうごくさんWiFeりますよく接続せつぞくエラーが発生はっせいします。( ;∀;) = At home, I have a wife made in China. Connection errors happen a lot.  

Lastly, it looks like this isn’t a one-time typo occurrence according to @bonne_and_bonne.

ちかいものをかんじます……… = Here’s a similar one. 

What!?

The word なんだ is actually an inflection of なん (の) with , the casual version of です which translates “to be” or a state of being. Truth be told, although なんだ adds a certain color to what you’re saying in Japanese, it can’t really be translated. It’s rather a style of speech that you’ll learn to recognize as you start speaking Japanese more and more.

However, you’ll find it useful to know that なんだ is used A LOT as an interjection to express you’re shocked or annoyed.

  • なんだって! = What?!/Why?/Come again?
  • なにがなんだか = What’s what?!
  • だからなんだ = So what!/Who gives a damn?/So f*ckin’ what!

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
ぎゅうカツ gyuu katsu beef cutlet
とんかつ tonkatsu pork cutlet
牡蠣かきフライ kaki furai fried oyster
なんだ nanda what!?
充電じゅうでん jyuuden charge
ください kudasai please
わら wara lol
うちにも uchi ni mo at (my) home too
中国産ちゅうごくさん chyuugokusan made in China
ります – あります arimasu to be (there is, are)
よく yoku a lot, often
接続せつぞく setsuzoku connection
エラー eraa error
発生はっせいする hassei suru occur, happen
ちか chikai close
かんじる kanjiru feel, find

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