Fashionable Japanese English
English is everywhere.
It's the linga franca of diplomacy, business, sport, the internet, pop music,
possibly even stamp collection.
I imagine even on the moon or Mars they have signs in English reminding you to
"Switch off you mobile" and "No smoking."
Earlier this summer Uniqlo and Rakuten made headlines with their representive policies
to make English their official languange. While Uniqlo, the cheap clothing chain, has sotres in English speaking countries, what is surprising is that both companies aim to make English the official language even in their Japanese offices.
Living in Japan I am surprised by the ubiquity of English; it's on restaurant menus, napkins, sign posts, pachinko parlours, timetables and T-shirts.
While often it's not perfect and does elict some smugness from native English speakers,
every word, no matter its spelling, helps massively if you have no clue of Japanese.
One of the enjoyable side effects of my never ending commute in Japan is people watching, or T-shirts watching, specifically ovserving the English emblazoned on T-shirts.
From my observation of the English used on T-shirts I have come to the conclusion that Japanese fashion designers have a love affair with the following words: "Enjoy" "Happy" "Happy time" "dream""love" "let's".
When it comes to deciding what words to put on a T-shirt, grammer rules are generally something best avoided, thus allowing for slogans like; "Please let's enjoy Happy Love Time Dreams."
Something I have pondered often is the love of the word "enjoy" in Japan.
From conversing with Japanese English speakers I notice that the verb "enjoy" is commonly employed. For example; "In Kyoto we can enjoy seeing many temples and eating delicious food."
Technically this statement is grammatically correct but it sounds non-native and more likely a Google translation taken from a guidebook.
Native English speakers are more likely to say something like "There are lots of temples to be seen in Kyoto"
Some of the most memorable T-shirts I have chanced upon are closer to philosophical meanderings than fashion slogans. Please see the picture below, and please enjoy it too.
Some other slogans that I have seen on my train rides include a plain white T-shirt with orange letters stating, "My favourite coulour is Orange". In Kyoto station I spotted an Asian tourist wearing the following T-shirt; "Let's enjoy throbbing at the moment"
present, appearing or founf everywhere
linga franca (noun)
a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native language is different
iscribe or display, usually on clothes
a short memorable phrase used in advertising
proceed aimlessly or purpose