Monday, July 3, 2006

The Five-Dollar Fools

While I was walking through Seaport Village in San Diego last weekend, I saw many places that were advertising these "henna tattoo" or "henna painting" along the beach.

Gibberish Henna Template

I laughed at their Chinese characters sections because most of them is either incorrectly written or the translations are way off.

I was tempted to inform one of the shop owners about the mistakes, but I was amazed by the gibberish character henna’s popularity, she was too busy to satisfy customers' $5-per-piece consuming needs.

henna gibberish 1

henna gibberish 2

henna gibberish 3

None the less, there were many young ladies with gibberish painted on their bodies.

The good news is that they will look like fools for only a week or so, and then the henna paint would wash off.


19 comments:

  1. Here's the entry for 隹 zhui1 from Reading & Writing Chinese by William McNaughton & Li Ying: "Dictionaries often define zhui1 as 'short-tailed bird.' In some ancient texts it specifically means 'dove.'"

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  2. And here is an entry from Unihan.org:

    隹 "short-tailed bird"

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  3. I always thought that was a strangely non-specific radical. I might start thinking of it as dove for making mnemonics.

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  4. Alan said...

    Isn't the "dragon" character at the upper left of the third photo supposed to be 辰? It is of course very poorly written.

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  5. Oh, I think I saw the exact same thing at Six Flags last time I went. My friend and I were screaming with laughter, and this western lady asked us what was so funny, so we pointed out about ten problems from the pages.

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  6. I think I would have preferred some "Asian fonts"! At least then the writing wouldn't make my eyes bleed.

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  7. I think Alan is right. The dragon character should be 辰 as the Japanese write 龍年 as 辰年.

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  8. Perhaps the "get together" one is 会?
    Just a thought!

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  9. False character believed to mean "To Get Together" (First picture upper left) is the upper part of 合. This has a meaning of "To match" in Japanese and the word for "to get together, to meet" is 会. Both characters have similar Kun (Native Japanese) readings of "Au", the u part written in Hiragana as 合う and 会う

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  10. I think "get together" must be the top of 合.

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  11. I am mildly amused by the idea of a girl getting 平 thinking it means "peace", but it actually labels her "flat" or "mundane".

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  12. ha ha ha, what a mishmash of orientalisms (incorrect characters in henna)

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  13. 辰=龙? Haven't seen that one, although don't know any Japanese. I know: blame dialects! It's not wrong, it's just the way it's done in a small village in southwestern Hebei. Sarcasm aside, it looks like those were just recopied badly several times and devolved to current form.

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  14. For what it's worth, henna doesn't so much wash off as gradually wear off, so for example about a week after your henna's been done, you have a pale orange stain left on your skin, and after about 2 weeks the mark will be completely gone.

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  15. Henna is a regular fake tattoo material used here in Turkey too. Pictures, abstract patterns, Texts in Hanzi, Roman or Arabic...anything. There are pre-drawn stencils just for that purpose. Stick to the area, apply and get the paper out.

    Henna is commonly found in Turkey and used for the traditional pre-wedding ceremony for the bride, and also as a hair-dye.

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  16. Addition to my post:

    Henna used as a fake tattoo tool is not limited to stencils. Artists themselves apply to. Many of the pictures, patterns and writing are done by them

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  17. In response to an earlier comment, in Japanese at least, 平 has "peace" as a very extended meaning (flat-->mundane-->calm-->peace). It is used in the Japanese word for peace, 平和. I do agree that it's odd to choose the character by itself, however, since out of context its meanings are nothing I'd want to display.

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  18. Dove is correct. 雙 <- shuang (in Mandarin), a pair. Notice the two doves on top of the 又. 隹 zhui is the word.

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  19. Looks like they ended up being hen na tattoos rather than henna tattoos, haha.

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