Ubiquitious engrish

One Minute English
(flat screen ads continuous shown inside Tokyo’s Yamanote train)–YouTube Video by Pythagore

One of the stranger aspects of living in Tokyo is that I’m constantly being bombarded with messages for me to learn English. There’s always that awkward moment when some temp girl on a street corner tries to give me a free package of kleenex with English school advertising on it and realizes I must speak English (but may want kleenex).

Anyway, watch the video above that runs continuously on flat screens inside the train cars of the JR Yamanote Line (山の手線) that encompasses and defines real ground-zero Tokyo.


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I'm a pale, alien, quadruped who has worked for 25+ years at "Maybe-the-Largest Inc." in Tokyo.

11 thoughts on “Ubiquitious engrish”

  1. In March, I saw these ads on the train and the snippet I saw highlighted phases “Leave me alone!” and “I’m so lonely”, which I thought were fairly common thoughts among most people in the the 23 Ku, if not most of Japan.

  2. Ah I remember those phases “Leave me alone!” and “I’m so lonely”, on the train. Many English lessons in Japan offer a window to the dark Japanese soul.

  3. Hi

    Just to let you know that when I see your blog in FireFox (news.3yen.com), instead of the pictures I see some pictures that say “Be Happy (100% free) http://www.3yen.com“. This happens even when I see the single post. This doesn’t happens in internet explorer.

  4. YIKES! Thanks for the heads-up!
    What is odd is that we all use Firefox here and hardly ever use Explorer.
    Weird. I’ll go around my other machines and proxies to look for the cause.

    That “Be Happy (100% free) http://www.3yen.com” picture is only supposed to show up on other websites trying to “leach” our images.

  5. Ah, this gets weirder and weirder. We also use Bloglines via Firefox here but we cannot replicate this image error (even after dumping all our browser caches and cookies). When the 3Yen webmonkey gets back from his long weekend, he’ll just erase that “leach” image. Until then (Weds?) please just ignore the images (I don’t have the access authority to that part of the website’s HTML.)

  6. Hmmm. I don’t see any “Be Happy (100% free) http://www.3yen.com” picture. There’s just the regular images staring with a cute picture of a Harajuku girl with a black umbrella.

  7. I have been asking friends to check, here the first reply:

    >>I’ve had no trouble viewing 3yen.com, and I just checked again then.
    Maybe his settings are too strict – I had trouble seeing images on the revamped Mainichi Daily News for a while last year but that seems to have been resolved without me lifting a finger.< <

    I was figuring as much—generally such problems are a firewall/antivirus problem or a browser “security” perference settings. I’ll keep working on fixing the problem.

  8. I usually use Safari most of the time (and it the site looks fine with that) but I’ve heard all the kwel kids are using firefox nowadays so I do have it loaded on my machine. But I’ve fired up firefox ( and the page looks fine to me on this end.  I haven’t tweeked any of my settings on firefox, so the problem might just be that prpblematic firefox set up vs. the whole program.


    Hey Taro,

    Thanks, and thanks to him for letting you know. :)

    I can’t replicate either, and it doesn’t make much sense that IE would be ok and FFox not. Perhaps the opposite I could understand but… I think there must be something one layer deeper, such as the guy using a proxy with his ISP at home for example, and the pages go through another server or something, and IE at work with direct connection.
    Well, something strange like this.

    It would interesting to investigate a bit further, but right now, I
    don’t even know where the problem could come from at all… :/




  10. t-shirt engrish..
    MrsTsk.tumblr.com aka Momus (2012mar27)
    Trusting to luck, everything is in your hand!
    It’s only to be expected that the English language should do some funny things on Japanese t-shirts. After all, most Japanese people don’t really understand English, and what they seem to want on t-shirts is just the look of the language, rather than meaningful messages
    But being correct isn’t the point. Garment Jinglish is a language unto itself, a mute lingo designed not to be read but to throw a few shapes and relax Japanese people. Usually printed on downmarket cotton sportswear, Garment Jinglish has — for the Japanese — a feeling of throwback to the late Showa era [late 70s to mid 80s], when American influence was still rife
    m0Ar engRish

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