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7947.  Wed Jul 28, 2004 8:02 am Reply with quote

I think the show to which raindancer refers was My Word.

My top 3 misheard or just poorly interpreted song lines and titles are:

    1) The Big Horse song.
    Maybe its Big Horse I'm a Londoner.

    2) My Pimple Hurts
    My Simple Heart.

    3) Go and get Stuffed
    Going Get's Tough

7948.  Wed Jul 28, 2004 8:35 am Reply with quote

Ever since visiting Japan on business I have been fascinated with the country's use of English words when naming products. It seems they use English to give the product a certain style or class. From my personal observations the name doesn't even need to make any sense it just needs to sound "cool" to the Japanese ear. A good example of this was a combined mobile phone and mp3 player product called "Beat Carrots".

One of our pastimes on taxi rides through the chaotic streets of Tokyo was to spot the brand names of the cars. Examples included the Toyota Windom and several from Nissan who have the Prairie Joy the his and hers named Cedric and Gloria the elegant Fairlady and the honest, but hardly appealing Cube. I am still to this day trying to work out what the Bluebird Sylphy is all about.

This seemingly random selection or jamming together of English words can be odd to those of us who speak the language natively, but it Japan is seems to have become a very successful way of giving a product or service that allure of Western sophistication. Sometimes they can get it right. Often the result is a cause of occidental hilarity. For example there is a toilet paper called "My Fanny", and beverages called "Pocari Sweat" and "Mucos"- hmmm, imagine chugging back a refreshing glass of that. There are also a couple of cosmetic products with don't quite hit the mark "Cookie Face" and "Salad Girl".

Then as often as it is funny, it can be disastrously wrong. The best examples I can think of at the moment are one from Sanrio, the makers of Hello Kitty, who might have invested a bit more time in checking thoroughly on the possible meanings of name of their character Puchi Puchi Wanko.

There is also a Japanese pharmaceutical company with a whole range of skin care products prefixed with the word Skina. Not bad you might think, even appropriate, but what exactly are we to make of "Skina Babe", and Skina Fukifuki"? Apparently the former is a Baby Oil - one hopes for putting on baby and not made from the pressed contents thereof - the latter is a skin cleanser. However one wonders exactly what image the brand manager was going for in this choice.

Do you have any good examples of the weird but wonderful world of Japanese brand names?

7952.  Wed Jul 28, 2004 10:31 am Reply with quote

Those are brilliant! Sorry - don't have any to add, but I did enjoy the ones you mentioned.

I've just remembered a lovely example of a (presumably) unintentional cause of mondegreens. I used to work with a guy whose surname was Carr. Unfortunately for him, his parents had chosen to saddle him with the given name of Wayne. Yes, that's right, Wayne Carr. Oh dear. Surprisingly, he hadn't grown up large and aggressive as one might imagine he might from the boy-named-Sue effect.

7955.  Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:46 pm Reply with quote


Thanks. 'My Word' it was. Wonderful!

7956.  Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:49 pm Reply with quote


Wayne Carr. Oh dear. Even worse than Fifi Trixiebell etc.

7957.  Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:58 pm Reply with quote

"My Simple Heart" is actually "Bicycle Pump", isn't it?

7975.  Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:28 pm Reply with quote


I was thinking about Wayne Carr earlier. Was that in England or the States?

I only ask because 'Wayne Carr' seems a sort of American pronunciation, but I'm wondering if it's an American expression... or am I just being pernickety?

7976.  Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:33 pm Reply with quote


I thought your Japanese run-down was wonderful! Cedric and Gloria...

7978.  Fri Jul 30, 2004 7:02 pm Reply with quote

No it was actually in England, and a few years ago too, since the gentleman in question is probably around my age and I was in my thirties at the time.

7979.  Sat Jul 31, 2004 4:45 am Reply with quote

Ah ha, I thought so. The Americans don't say w*****, do they? It was the Wayne that threw me.

We used to have someone called Peregrine Punnett. He came in for a lot of stick, poor chap. He used to walk everywhere on his toes, and I'm sure it was anxiety. Life can be cruel, can't it?

7980.  Sat Jul 31, 2004 6:16 am Reply with quote


You friend Wayne Carr must have been doubly embarrassed when self styled Media Terrorist Chris Morris decided to use that very name for a particularly cheesy Disk Jockey character on his "On The Hour" radio spoof. (Series 1 Episode 5 First Broadcast: 06/09/199)

I did a quick Google (apparently a way of authenticating "facts") and I discovered that there really are an awful lot of Wayne Carrs out there. As Raindancer suspects most of these are in the USA.

I used to work with a guy whose family name was Organ. On announcing the pregnancy of his wife he forestalled a good deal of the possible naming humour by announcing that if he were a boy it would be called Everard, and the girl would be Ophelia.

One other I have been told about; my sister was a supply teacher at a school where there was a little girl called Rosy Bottom. Poor kid, I bet she can't wait to be married!

7981.  Sat Jul 31, 2004 1:09 pm Reply with quote

If you are at all interested in Japanes to English translations or product names, then this is the site for you!

7982.  Sat Jul 31, 2004 6:20 pm Reply with quote

Oh Deep Joy! Thank you Commander.

7983.  Sun Aug 01, 2004 11:01 am Reply with quote

Deep joy reminds me of 'Professor' Stanley Unwin, who always sounded as if he ought to make sense if you could only concentrate hard enough on it.

7986.  Sun Aug 01, 2004 4:41 pm Reply with quote

What? He did make sense. At least he did to me when I was a child. But then most of what everyone else said to me at that time (certainly my schoolteachers) sounded like utter gobbledy-gook.

I think the secret with Unwinese is not to listen too hard. Just let it sort of wash over you and you get the drift in the end.

Hugh Dennis does an excellent Unwin impression. Maybe the lingo will live on for a while yet.


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