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Friday, November 24, 2006

The Japan Files 日本語

Some more examples of Japanese used in signage around Fengyuan:

This sign is difficult to work out

The kanji is easy "Kenkoki" 健康機, which roughly translates as "Health machine", and which I assume to mean some kind of medical/exercise equipment. It's the hiragana that precedes it that's a puzzler. It reads "Takai den kurai" たかい でん くらい, but without characters, it's not clear what is being expressed. For fun, I ran "たかいでんくらい健康機" through Babel Fish. What I got back was "It is high, is the extent healthy machine". At least I can rest comfortably knowing it'll be a long time before language teachers like myself can be replaced by the Internet. Pamela says the sign is for a shop that sells massage chairs.

The other signs are much easier. From the door of a Japanese restaurant

which of course is "Irrashaimase" いらっしゃいませ, the standard greeting given to customers upon entering a shop or restaurant. Japanese restaurants are ubiquitous in Taiwan (Fengyuan included), and the food they serve is almost uniformly mediocre (Fengyuan included). Even Pamela complains that Japanese food in Taiwan is too bland and needs more salt. I guess she got spoiled living in Yokkaichi.

Finally, here's a sign for a Japanese language school in Fengyuan called "Kyobo" 橋坊. The sign welcomes visitors いらっしゃいませ, and asks them to please go up to the third floor - "Dozo, sangai e" どうぞ三階へ 
 
The Chinese above the name of the school says it is government-approved.

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