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Why are buffets called "Viking" and staplers called "Hotchkiss" in Japanese?

2016/05/16

English words that are lost in translation.

http://imagehost.vendio.com/a/35116558/aview/__KGrHqEOKpQE23vwWljCBN3dhrELBg__0_1.GIF


Let's play a little game.

In the 1969 book, Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick, idle workers kill time creating puzzles by jumbling words through numerous translation services, much like the classic children's game of "telephone". So ring-ring, this call's for you.

First Round, Warmup - How many you get correct? There are 15 in all.


  • オーライ(oh-rai) is called when someone drives in reverse, what does it mean...

a(ll) righ(t)


  • カンニング (kanningu) is "cunning", but with Japanese intonation it means...

To cheat (on a test)


  • エキス (ekis) pops up with supplements or aromatherapy. Like vanilla...

ex(tract)


  • テンション (tenshon) is "tension", but Japanese use it to mean...

excitement


  • and what is a チェリーボーイ (cherībōi) "cherry boy"?...

A male virgin




Next round, Technology - Usually pretty straightforward, but here are the funner ones.


  • A power outlet is called a (konsent) コンセント, what does that refer to?

concent(ric plug)

Apparently plugs were round in early 20th century,

which may be where the word comes from.


  • Why is a mechanical pencil called a (shā-pen) シャーペン?

shar(p) pen(cil)

The company that popularized mechanical pencils

in Japan was the Sharp Corporation.


  • Why are staplers called (hotchikisu) ホッチキス?

Hotchkiss

Again, a name, this time for both the company

and the inventor, somehow it took root in Japan.



  • Why are commercials called a (C.M.) シーエム?

Commercial Message

I always wondered what the M stood for...





Next is the best round, Food - There may be a few surprises for you...


  • Why is an all-you-can-eat buffet called (viking) ヴァイキング?

From the restaurant "Imperial Viking" in the Imperial Hotel,

which was the first restaurant in Japan to serve buffet-style meals

and inspired by the 1958 American film The Vikings.


  • Deep-friend (Katsu) カツ is delicious over rice, but what's its origin word?

Cutlet

... Really?...


  • (Calpis) カルピス is a milky soft drink, but what's its origin? No, it's not "Cow Piss".

    • cal(cium) + ?? ??? (sar)pis (Sanskrit for "tastes good")





The final round, Other Languages - Although most Japanese think these are English...


  • Bread is called (Pan) パン in Japanese, but what language is it from?

Portuguese

So naturally the French and Spanish words are similar.


  • Unfortunately, pants in Japanese are called (zubon) ズボン, what language is that?

Well apparently it's a mistranslation of the old French

word for petticoat, jupon, which is worn under a dress...oops.


  • A Halloween mummy is called a (miira) ミイラ, why is that?

Myrrh

Remember the three wise men with their frankincense and myrrh?

Apparently myrrh is an ancient preservative, also used for mummification.

Originally a Hebrew word.


So did you learn anything new? Did we miss any good ones?

Tell us in the comments, and let us know your score!

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