British Pub Humor in Tokyo

From the little bathroom in the pub

I have an American friend here in Tokyo whose mission it is to try all of the smoke-free craft brew places that she can.  Her hunt led us to the Aldgatein Shibuya.  It’s a great little place off the beaten path on the second floor of a building that is behind the main drag.  They have more than twenty beers on tap, including hard cider, a favorite of mine.  The cider was a bit sweet for my taste, but the amber ale was a delightful mixture of hoppy and bitter, with a bit of wheat taste.  A group of us went together and it was like a time warp.  There were a lot of foreigners in the bar, but it wasn’t exclusive, and there were soccer matches going on on all the TVs in the joint.  It really was a proper British pub, serving bangers and mash along with fish and chips with their craft brews.

Don’t piss off the bartenders!

My favorite thing was the signs, however.  Here is just a sampling of one behind the bar and one in the bathroom.  Funky signs abounded and kept us chuckling all night.

If you like craft brews, British wait staff, soccer and a good chuckle, then this is definitely the place for you!


Japanese Bathroom Trash?

The image to the left here is from the men’s bathroom in the office of a friend of mine.  On the sink, just left sitting there, is a pack of cigarettes with a lighter inside.  On the pack, the building cleaning crew has left a note.

Loosely translated, the cleaning crew is asking if it’s okay to throw the pack away or if someone wants to claim it. The date of April 29th is at the top of the note, and it adds that if it’s okay to trash the pack, then tear off the bottom of the perforated note and the cleaning crew will trash it.  After 1 day of sitting unclaimed, the pack will automatically be trashed.

Here’s the literal translation: “We don’t know if it’s okay to throw this away. We will will leave it for today.  If it can be thrown away, please tear off the part below the perforated line. Thank you.”

Think about this: someone actually has to tear off the bottom section in order to have the cleaning crew – or someone else – throw it away!   This was clearly meant for use on larger office items, so as my friend asks, do you think someone might have a sense of humor??  My friend also points out, you have to think about the time people spent to design this system and then create the perfect sticky and perforated forms for it.  Training for the cleaning crew was probably involved.  I mean really – how does one decide what is just to be automatically trashed and what should be considered worth saving?  It illustrates not only the cleanliness of the Japanese, but also the orderliness of the society.

Where else but in Japan would you have the option to re-claim your lost cigarette pack and lighter?  I’ve said it before: what a country!

Constructions Signs – Taking Politeness To A New Level

I’d like to share this sign I saw on the street the other day:

This is pretty typical for a sign in Tokyo.  If you really look at it, the man in the picture is bowing.  This is a sign near a construction site, and the sign is warning pedestrians to take care.  It also apologizes for the inconvenience.  Apologies are generally accompanied by a bow.

Signs bow everywhere, though.  When you buy a ticket on the Yamanote line at some machines, a cartoon character thanks you and bows on the screen.  The animation is a hoot!  Here it’s a still drawing, but you get the idea.  Kindness and politeness reign.  It’s a lovely concept.

Sneak Peek Sunday

Only one or two more weeks until my book, Lost With Translation from D21 Publications, arrives in stores and on! I will announce the exact date when I have it.  In the meantime, here’s a little taste of what you’ll see in it!

Beware of the Dread of Aflo!  This sign is from a hair shop in Omotesando.  That pesky “L” and “R” transposition causes all sorts of funny problems! “Dread” written on the list in that way is mildly amusing as well.  You can find all sorts of silly implications in there if you look.

Sneak Peek Sunday!

The sign says it all!

When I pass this sign, I always wonder what is going on here.  Are they teaching adults to behave like children? Are they teaching children to behave like adults?  Perhaps they are just studying childish, silly people.  “Infantile” means childish or babyish and is not synonymous with infant!

Please look for my book, Lost with Translation, set to be published by Discover21 on November 15th.  Don’t worry – you’ll be able to get it on Amazon in the U.S. as well as in bookstores here in Tokyo!

Sneak-Peek Sunday: To Smoke or Not to Smoke?

My book, Lost with Translation, is set for publication from Discover21 Publications on November 15th.  Please enjoy this funny look at one of the signs from the upcoming book!

Spotted at Starbucks in Shinjuku

At Starbucks, patrons can smoke for free, even on the terrace.  That’s what this sign says anyway.  Smokers will soon flock to this Starbucks in Shinjuku in order to smoke as much as they would like, all for no cost.  No I’m joking. I think they forgot the verb in the sentence.  They meant, “please let us BE smoke-free.”  People who go there for the free smoking will be sorely disappointed.