Hello from exciting Las Vegas, where I’ve come for a short vacation with Mrs. J-List and our kids. While I’m here, the hardworking staff is making sure everything runs smoothly, including our new flash sale on bento and “kawaii” items!
One subject I’m interested in is the “mystery of translation,” the process of moving a sentence or phrase from one language to another while preserving the exact nuances of meaning in the process. When we translate our licensed visual novels and eroge, we have to make decisions about how to represent what’s being said, for example how a character speaks to someone younger than them versus when talking to a senpai they’re in love with. A great source of entertainment on the Internet is “Engrish” (hilariously mistaken English), historically coming from Japan, though China has been picking up the slack lately. When it comes to something like advertising it’s best to get a native speaker to check your translation. Pizza Hut restaurants in Tokyo recently started handing out some ridiculous advertisements that read “Don’t you hungry? at that time,PizzaHut!”
I often write about how Japanese people are the most polite in the world, which can be understood by analyzing three Japanese words. First is the “golden rule” that you should never cause 迷惑 meiwaku (inconvenience, annoyance) to others, followed by the idea of 遠慮 enryo (“social hesitation”), which is why Japanese people will usually not eat that last piece of pizza, each person insisting that they’re full and that someone else should eat it. (It usually gets thrown away.) Finally there’s 我慢 gaman, meaning to stoically endure an unpleasant situation rather than confront it openly, which the Japanese consider to be a positive personality trait. I’m currently in Las Vegas, and naturally there are quite a few mainland Chinese tourists here, engaging in what the Japanese call 爆買い bakugai, or “explosive buying.” While we’re all happy to have visitors support our economies by making purchases, I’m sorry to say there’s a big difference in the public manners of the (mostly middle-aged and older) mainland Chinese we saw, with many pushing and cutting in line while shopping. (In Japan, they do things like climb up into the cherry trees during sakura season to take pictures.) Hopefully as China becomes more international, their manners while traveling abroad will improve.
J-List is a Japanese corporation, and our fiscal year ends at the end of May, after which our staff will spend a day doing inventory of all products in stock. Rather than count it, we’d rather sell it to you, so we are having a one-week flash sale instead. This week only, get 15% off all awesome bento and kitchen products, plus kawaii products like Rilakkuma, Sumikko Gurashi and Sanrio’s Gudetama. The sale ends next Friday!