‘Smorking’ fun

no smorking sign japan
My buddy Bucky* found this Japanese sign (L) with, “apologies if it has already been posted.” These “Smorking” signs are a Japanese classic that I swear the Japanese are put them up in conspicuous public places to entertain English speaking tourists.
For example, check out the results of using the search term “smorking” on flickrhivemind.net below ↓.

You can find a linguistic explanation ‘Smorking’ fun by Peter Payne of J-List in our Comments section.

engRish no smoRking sign

Previous 3Yen reports touching on the topic of engrish “smorking” include:
. . . Smorky cheese (3Yen / 2007-09-01)
. . . That biatch is sick (3Yen / 2005-02-15)
. . . Smorking cleaner (3Yen / 2009-08-15)

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

21 thoughts on “‘Smorking’ fun”

  1. Peter Payne of J-List.com came up with this rather complete explanation of “smorking” engrish.

    Needing a sixth sense to communicate with people from other countries… and all about “smorking”
    peterpayne.net (J-List side blog)
    I hate it when someone smorks in my face.” For whatever reason, the English word “smoke” is often rendered as “smork” in Japan. The issue is how the Japanese perceive certain sounds, especially the “r” phoneme that’s not familiar to them. Because Japanese is a syllable-based language in which you can express sounds like ka, ki, ku, ke or ko, but not the consonant “k” by itself, English words like “hello” “goodbye” or “beer, please” must be forced through this rather alien phonetic system, resulting in haroh (the final “h” representing an elongating of the previous vowel), guddobai and biiru puriizu. The very first fast food I ate in Japan was a McDonald’s clone called First Kitchen (home of the world famous scrambled egg burger, yech), and I remember some confusion as to whether the company was First Kitchen or Fast Kitchen. Without the full repertoire of English sounds, the Japanese render the latter as fasuto and the former as fahsuto, with the longer middle vowel serving the role of the “r” in “first.” This rule gets over-generalized in some words, which is why the long middle sound of the word sumo-ku (smoke) ends up as “smork”

    {Peter Payne’s other Smorking tales}
  2. Cupcake ipsum dolor sit amet brownie sweet roll carrot cake candy canes. Candy canes jelly beans muffin apple pie dessert ice cream ice cream lemon drops I love. Pie macaroon cotton candy pie sugar plum. Jelly-o I love apple pie candy sesame snaps.

    Toffee ice cream fruitcake chocolate cake I love gingerbread tootsie roll fruitcake pie. Apple pie pie bonbon powder I love I love toffee. Sweet roll dessert jelly beans carrot cake sugar plum. Chocolate bar biscuit gummi bears jujubes candy canes.

    Tiramisu I love donut dessert chupa chups. Dessert bear claw pudding topping chocolate cake croissant applicake liquorice tiramisu. Gummies powder I love cheesecake cheesecake donut I love cake faworki. CupcakeIpsum.com

  3. Japanese “smorking” is a topic to which my heart cheers—Will you speak to the specifics even though you don’t smork?

  4. 1nteressant inf0rmasj0n. Hv0r kan jeg finne mer 0m dette emnet?
    (1nteresting information. Where can I find out more about this t0pic?)

  5. nettie bladder wrote:
    1nteressant inf0rmasj0n. Hv0r kan jeg finne mer 0m dette emnet?

    So you think that this, “Interesting information”? Norwegian spambots like you are more “interesting” since their spam is made of lutfisk!

  6. Smoking might be OK, but smoking while walking is really bad! Especially if you're a cigarette yourself.

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