January 18, 2012


On a trip to Tokyo last month, I came across an interesting word that I had never heard before. The word is “smork” and I saw it twice.

The first time was at a small bakery/cafe and the word “smork” was written on a sign taped to the table that my friend and I were sitting at.

No Smorking allowed!

The second instance of “smork” was found at a clothing store inside Shinjuku Station. In fact, the store is called “Smork by Language.”

Smork by Language, a clothing store in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

I believe the only explanation for this is that the owners of the bakery have some sort of dispute with the clothing store owners. Anyone have any other guesses? 😉


August 29, 2011

Bangkok Find: Reacting Trash Can

Inside the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, my friend and I found a a trash can with a video screen on it. And whenever you throw something into the bin, you can see your trash on the video screen. Kind of.

Inside the art and culture centre.

The trash can.


July 20, 2011

Ultimate Fusion Cuisine

Filed under: abroad, China, Cuisine, Food, Hong Kong, Strange, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 8:06 am

Foie Gras Sushi in Hong Kong.

April 23, 2011


Japan has a tendency to make everything cute. From No Smoking signs to manhole covers, the most mundane things are overly adorable. I have posted many other sign pictures on here before, including the beware of bear sign, the sign asking you to prevent forest fires, the water system mascot sign (at the bottom of the page in the link), and this sign proclaiming Toyooka to be a town of bags. Here’s some more fun signs!

This sign says Kids House No. 110. Its a government program to help keep kids safe. People in the community volunteer to have this sign posted outside their house, or put a sticker in the window. Homes displaying the No. 110 emblem are supposed to be safe havens for kids to go to when they are in trouble.

Mr. Cool Frog says, "Dont toss trash into the river! The river is for everyone and we should all protect it together."

At the construction site, the sign politely bows to me to apologize for any inconvenience.

Isnt this manhole a bit too cute? It has characters from the Yamata no Orochi legend, in which the god Susano slays the great Orochi serpent.

On a train with no glass windows, a sign telling everyone not to stick out their hands or head because its dangerous.

February 20, 2011

Traditional Toilet Instruction

Filed under: Chuugoku, Domestic, Interesting, Strange, Trips — Tags: , , , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 11:39 pm

For those who have never encountered a Squat toilet, the traditional style in Japan, here are some instructions on how to use one.

Japanese toilet

I found these instructions in the bathroom at the Hiroshima Peace Museum. They get a lot of international visitors, so I understand their decision to put up some instructions. The picture is very informative!

February 15, 2011

Histrica and Folklore Materials House This Way!

Filed under: Chuugoku, Domestic, Engrish, Strange, Trips — Tags: , , , , , — myyearinjapan @ 11:54 pm

I found this sign just outside the exit for the Itsukushima shrine.


I assume they meant to say historical, not histrica. Histrica is not English. Also, history is not mentioned in the Japanese. It just says Folklore museum.

February 2, 2011

Filth Putting

Filed under: Engrish, Strange — Tags: , , — myyearinjapan @ 6:36 am

I found this sign in a public bathroom by a castle. And now I have a new favorite euphemism for trash bin.

filth putting

I assume this sign has been put up because in places such as South Korea and China, it is common practice to throw toilet paper into the rubbish bin rather than directly into the toilet. Japan wants you to discard your used toilet paper in the toilet bowl and flush it away. So, please only use the filth putting in this bathroom for other trash. Thank you.

P.S. I asked my Korean co-worker if the Korean on this sheet was wrong and she said it is a little bit off, but she wasn’t laughing, so I guess it isn’t a funny mistake.

January 7, 2011

Bright Family Planning – Condom Vending Machine

Filed under: Interesting, Strange, vending machines — Tags: , , — myyearinjapan @ 12:01 am

Have you ever been in an intimate situation and needed protection, but were too embarrassed to go to the store and have the clerk see what you were buying? Well, Japan has a solution for you: condom vending machines. No human interaction necessary.

condom machine

Yep, it's real. It's called Bright Family Planning: High Quality Skins.


It costs 500 or 1000 yen depending on which pack you get, which is approximately $5 or $10.

December 24, 2010


Filed under: abroad, Food, Interesting, South Korea, Strange, Trips — Tags: , — myyearinjapan @ 12:13 pm

Silkworms are a popular street food in Korea. They are known as beondegi.


In the pot on the right are silkworms. I hear that they're delicious. If you ever go to Korea, you could try some.

not pictured: me running away from my friend trying to force feed me a silkworm.

October 1, 2010

Japanese Engrish Shirts

Filed under: Engrish, Strange — myyearinjapan @ 12:03 am

Good luck finding a T-shirt in Japan that has Japanese on it. Sure, if you go to a touristy area you’ll see shirts that say things like “samurai” and “zen” in Japanese. And there are certainly T-shirts made to promote a school or sports team that might have Japanese, but outside of that, forget about it. Japanese people wear T-shirts with English on them (or sometimes French). Why? They tell me it looks cooler. But the English doesn’t really need to mean anything. Even Japanese people who speak pretty good English, usually don’t bother to read them.

Typical T-shirt

This is a fairly typical shirt. It doesn't really say anything. It's just a collection of words and phrases splashed haphazardly across the shirt.

Another T shirt

Another T-shirt. "Feel the best music rythm in the hole world." I imagine that you can get better reverberation in a hole world, similar to singing in the shower, right?

Shirt 3

This shirt is on sale. It was marked down to about $6 from about $30. "BEING LONGING" "RELIEVED BY LONGING" There are so many overlapping words here that I'm not sure how I'm supposed to read it.

Milk T shirt

I just had to take a picture of this shirt because I myself suffer from milk addiction. That's why I could never last as a vegan. I would never drink flavored milk though. Milk is so delicious as it is! Why ruin it?

T shirt 5

I wish I had more gustiness.Why does it say "09" though? Was gustiness only popular in 2009?

T shirt 6

This shirt made me wonder, what is suburban North Dakota like? I can only imagine it's like suburban Fresno, but colder.Of course, these are the "Liberty Suburbs," so they must be special. Glad to hear that they've been "the discovered".

T shirt 7

How can I break it if it's already open wide? And by extension, how can I know if I'm alive? Also, what does the Arc d'Triomphe have to do with any of this?

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