English On Signs

Hello again,

I wanted to write about the use of English on signs and menus in Japan. I have noticed that there are many interesting "translations" written on signs and menus here and there are also many mistakes I have noticed too.

"Grand open"

I have seen this many times. It is used for new buildings and shops which have just opened. However, in English I would say "Grand Opening". Because "open" is already an adjective it can't be "grand". The noun of "open" is "opening".

"vegetible", "vegatable"....

It seems that no one can spell "vegetable". I have seen many menus with misspellings like this. Strangely, the spelling of the changes in the same menu. So, sometimes I see "vegetible" and then later on the same menu I see the correct spelling "vegetable". I always wonder: "why did they spell it right only once?"


"we love here"

I saw this sign in Umeda. This sign was actually quite large, too. Unfortunately that sentence sounds strange in English. The correct sentence would be "We love ithere". The sentence needs "it" otherwise it sounds a little weird.

"please close the sliding door to prevent the monkey's invasion"

I saw this sign recently in Kyoto. It was at the entrance to a temple. Apparently there were monkeys in the area and they sometimes cause problems. The sentence makes sense, but the word "invasion" sounds like an army is going to invade. So, I imagined there was an army of monkeys waiting to "invade" the temple and take it over. I think a normal sentence would be: "please close the sliding door so that monkeys can't get in".

French/German on signs.

I have seen a lot of french and german on signs here in Japan, too. On the bakeries' signs there is always some french and on the Baumkuchens there is often some german. Unfortunately the french and german are almost always nonsense :) I have tried to read it but it usually doesn't make any sense. Maybe someone used "copy paste" from google translate...


There are many others but I can't remember them all. The translation may be odd sometimes but I am always grateful that there is an English version in restaurants and on signs. It really does help, even if the message is strangely written. 


If I find some more I'll be sure to tell you about it!


David