Here are some examples of English that makes us smile– one of the best things about living abroad:
A new line of moisturizing lotions has appeared in our local grocery store, sure to satisfy the demand of our Chinese and Korean neighbors for whitening cosmetics that count milk and sheep’s placenta among their ingredients. The moisturizers have delightfully long and descriptive names, which have been rendered even more delightfully into English. Today I resisted the temptation to buy “Water Congeals Tender Clean Pieces of Milk in Vain.”
Dongxi magazine, in an ad seeking contributors, boasts that it has been “gratuitously publishing words, thoughts, ideas, lists,” etc.– as if the world didn’t have enough of that stuff already!
A shop name seen in Beijing’s ritzy Wangfujing neighborhood: BOMB PLASTIC in big, capital letters on a bright orange background. And underneath, in smaller letters: designed just for you. Sounds like a clearinghouse for C4 explosives, but in fact appears to be a clothing boutique.
A clothing shop on Chengfu Lu is called ‘Wayne’s’; its nextdoor neighbor is also a clothing shop, called ‘So Easy.’ Their signs, very close together, seem more a single insult than two advertisements.
When we were in Sichuan in the Spring, a beer company had advertised its product on the umbrellas shading outdoor tables of a restaurant. Their slogan–‘Yellow Snow’–was, I suppose, meant to sound refreshing.
A storefront seen from a taxi had the English name ‘LayZman’ on a sign on top of the store, with letters nearly as tall as the store itself. What the store sold could not be determined; its large display windows were completely barren, except for some strips of pink carpet. Too lazy to put anything out, maybe?