Sunday, September 17, 2006

I do not think that phrase means what you think it means

Far be it from me to step down from the commanding heights to giggle at an inappropriate appropriation of the English language...but a political poster I passed on the street today must set a new standard for inadvertent self-parody.

English-language slogans are almost always awkward, or at least forced. Kanebō's masterful "For Beautiful Human Life" is a personal favorite. It is heartening to see a Japanese corporation fully prepared for the presence on Earth, either currently or sometime in the near future, of sentient non-human lifeforms with money to spend.

In the "Uhh, are you sure you want to say that?" category, the absolutely wildest error (Warning: Incipient Vulgarity Alert) I have come across in my years here was in a flyer I received on the street from a matchmaking service. The company's slogan, in lovely cursive, mauve script, was:

"Let Cupid Come on You!"


Today, however, I believe I have seen a mistake that rivals the error in the wedding arranger's flyer, minus the salaciousness.

Yamaguchi Natsuo is a Kōmeitō member of the House of Councillors. The poster is for a speech he is going to be delivering in front of the West Exit of Shinjuku Station on May 3, 2007.

May 3, 2007.

Well, there's nothing quite like getting the word out a little ahead of time.

Sadly the words that I am likely to recall from this episode are not the ones he is going to say but those printed in one corner of his poster.

There are those who say the Kōmeitō is a political front organization for a fanatical authoritarian religion. This is an utterly unfair and prejudiced depiction. The Kōmeitō is a political front organization for Japan's largest unregulated provider of microfinance.

Anyway, among those who describe the Kōmeitō and its voters in less than flattering terms there are those who say that for the most part, Kōmeitō voters and candidates are...well, non compos mentes.

In need of screwdrivers.

Black and white waterbirds printed on Canadian $1 bills.

Well, it seems, the Tokyo branch of the Kōmeitō, far from being coy about this, has coming right out with it.

OK, could we have a tight shot of the bottom lefthand corner?

Heckuva job, English-Language Slogan Committee.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmm, somewhat deficient in the verb department. Let's see...

"Tokyo is nuts!"

The Clean Government Party, telling it like it is. Right on! Word! Fo' Shizzle!

Shame on you, Shisaku, for casting aspersions on that moral pillar of Japanese politics.

The Cryptic