Saturday, April 29, 2006

From Istanbul with Gibberish

The downloadable gibberish “Asian font” has finally reached the country of Turkey.

A recent posting in BMEzine’s gallery titled “Art by Vaso” displays this piece of gem:

Reader U.A. from Istanbul has also sent me these two photos:


Despite all the recent frictions between South Korea and Japan, it is nice to see a Japanese flag sharing the same piece of windshield in harmony with Korean Hangul.


"Asian theme" flower vase with gibberish characters.


  1. Hopefully his arm hair will eventually obscure the tatoo.

  2. The vase in the back looks like it was trying to say 日本文, but the characters are in the wrong order, and at least one stroke is missing.

  3. I'm just wondering if the Hangul actually says anything, like "Source of our problems".

  4. I asked two Korean buddies about the car. They said:

    The Hangul sound like "Bak Ku Pal Uh Ra"

    Bak Ku sounds like "receive"

    Pal Uh Ra sounds like "sell please"

    But the Hangul still isn't clear to them.

  5. i think the front vase is meant to be 木華花

  6. The Korean text in Unicode is 바구 팔오라., which in Revised Romanization would be "Bagu parora" (I'm guessing where to put the space.)

    I don't know Korean very well, so I can't make much sense of it other than the "please sell" part that Peng already mentioned. Bagu appears to be a Korean shopping site, but that's probably neither here nor there.

  7. Tian, great blog and I think the newspaper coverage (mid April 2006) was a little overdue. Just curious, how did you manage to collate all these photos of tattoos? Are these from volunteers? I happened to chance by your blog when doing a research for my course blog on 'Fusion' or this whole idea of East meet West. And I think the use and misuse of language provides a window to such cross-cultural exchanges.

    I tracked back earlier to your April entry, it didn't appear on blogspot possibly because of the difference in platforms - I'm on wordpress.

    If you have the time to spare, it will be great to hear some of your views on hybridisation of languages on some of my blog entry:

  8. fuji,

    Some of the photos were taken by myself, and the others are from email submissions and Shannon Larrett's

  9. Yes, the Korean is complete gibberish, all the more humorous being with the Japanese flag.

  10. Well, we threw up a link on my site, let's see if any of my readers can figure it out.

  11. I'm wondering if the Hangul is an attempt at transliterating some Turkish word. I don't know a whole lot of Turkish, but the suffix "lar" is a plural marker. So maybe it's like, the plural of something sounding like "bakupa"? Whatever that would mean...

  12. I'm Turkish myself and there's no word like Bakupa in Turkish..Well there's Parora, which sounds similar like "Parola" (password, motto)...if I squeeze that too much that could be "Bak, parola" (look, a motto) but...well, too absurd.

  13. Hahahahahaha.

    That Korean definitely doesn't mean anything. I don't really think you could squeeze any sort of sense out of that phrase. Although the third character means "arm".

  14. I wouldn't know if Ba Gu Pal Oh Ra means something in a different language, but it doesn't make much sense in Korean. Maybe the middle three characters are numbers?

    구 - 九 - 9?
    팔 - 八- 8?
    오 - 五 - 5?

  15. Luv your blog! As a lover of japanese culture and a learner of japanese language, it provided me loads of laughs!
    For christmas, my sister in law, knowing that above, gave me a set of teacups with 牛 written on it... I had to get a grip on myself not to laugh too much... at least I can use them to drink milk, and maybe it won't get too far from the meaning.

  16. 牛 (cow) probably was meant for Chinese horoscope-the year of the cow. Though the correct character for the horoscope is 丑, but the other is also frequently used. good present for a person born in such a year. Mine for instance (1977) is 蛇 (snake)

  17. So am I correctly "translating" the gibberish tattoo as "PRENSES", using the newly-uncovered "asian font" key?