Thursday, August 31, 2006

Gibberish Asian Font Mystery Solved

Alan Siegrist, a professional Japanese-English translator, member of both Japan Association of Translators (JAT) and American Translators Association (ATA), has finally solved the mystery of gibberish “Asian Font”.

With Alan’s help, I have compiled this following chart:

Obviously the characters themselves might be correct and have meanings in both Chinese and Japanese.

However, the characters have nothing to do with the English alphabet, yet many tattoo shops consider this template as a valid translation tool, and using it to translate English names and words into Chinese and Japanese.

Alan has also mentioned:

"There are no equivalents for the letters V and W. This looks like the right side of , but is the closest full character I can find. This looks like the radical in the top-right of . This looks like the radical in the bottom-left of . * The character for "Y" is a mystery, looking something like 米米産 as one character.

If you look carefully, you will note a pattern of where the partial radicals come from:

(C) = (D) + (A)
(G) = (I) + (H)
(N) = (O) + (P)
(R) = (T) + (S) "

We have also found an actual website that is still currently selling this gibberish "Asian font" along with some other designs for $64.99.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


This photo was submitted to's gallery in August 28th accompanied with the following caption:

"lettering that was suppose to say Jason"

(by Doc, A & B Productions, Brown City, Michigan)

Another sucker of the downloadable gibberish “Asian font”.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Reader Robert found this photo posted in one of’s pages and would like to know what the phrase meant.

The top character means “very, too, much; big; extreme”, and the bottom one means “break wind; fart; buttocks”.

In Chinese slang, especially in internet lingo, 太屁 means “lame” or "pathetic".

Update: August 27, 2006 - According to the original website, the tattoo is supposed to be "fat ass".

If that is true, the top character should be , not .

Friday, August 25, 2006

Short Sleeved Tee at Guess

I saw this shirt in Guess' store window today.

Short Sleeved Tee at Guess store 1

Short Sleeve Tee at Guess store 2

When I asked the sales lady what the Japanese on the shirt meant, she replied "that is CHINESE" but still did not know what they meant.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I saw this photo in someone's MySpace page. He has since then closed his MySpace account, but the photo is still available at

I assume the last character is , which means "fortunate" or "lucky".

Notice his username "Lord Chino"? I am unsure about if he is referring to

1. Trousers made from coarse twilled cotton fabric
2. Spanish word for Chinese

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Jon Stewart Made Fun of Condoleezza Rice's Tattoo

I caught a glimpse of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight, where he made fun of Condoleezza Rice's Chinese character tattoo.

Jon Stewart makes fun of Condoleezza Rice's tattoo
Videos: 4.12 MB Divx, 2.39 MB Windows Media, and mirror

This is after the Daily Show aired a clip showing Condoleezza Rice tried to use a Chinese phrase to describe American's war in Iraq (or terrorism in general?) during a news conference in August 6, 2006.

By the way, the term Condoleezza Rice used does not actually mean "danger+opportunity=crisis". My good friend Mark Swofford at has posted an essay by Victor H. Mair on this misperception.

The character on Condoleezza's shoulder means "pig".

Update: August 9, 2006 - After receiving two emails from readers that felt the need to share their inside knowledge about The Daily Show with everyone, I just want to point out for those who hasn’t already know, The Daily Show is produced by Comedy Central, and it is a satirical television program.

The show is hosted by “the most trusted name in fake news” Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, also known as Jon Stewart.

Another headline from the Gullible Readers’ Digest: Is Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Bruno, and Sacha Baron Cohen the same person?

Say it ain’t so!

Monday, August 7, 2006

Maclean's "Botched in Translation"

In August 7th issue of Maclean’s magazine (Canada’s leading weekly magazine), there was an article titled Botched in Translation about Hanzi Smatter by Nancy MacDonald.

maclean's magazine August 07, 2006
(larger view)

Besides the rectangular tidbit at lower right corner of the page about “Polish grannies making skimpy, see-through women’s thong using traditional crochet patterns”, I thought the parts about tattooist 6ix Acheson (yes, that is his name “6ix” with a number in it) and Dr. Gerald Boey were very good:
“[6ix] Acheson thinks accuracy is a responsibility shared equally by client and artist. ‘Even if the client comes in carrying a drawing, they shouldn’t just blast it on.’”

“‘Unfortunately, it’s a buyer-beware market,’ cautions Dr. Gerald Boey of Vancouver’s Arbutus Laser Centre, a specialist in laser removal, noting that about 20 percent of those with tattoos are considering removal.”
Thanks Nancy!

Friday, August 4, 2006

Dodgy Asian-Themed Restaurants

I was talking to a friend of mine Marc about a new Asian-themed restaurant just opened in northern Scottsdale called Ten Asian Bistro. A quick browse through their website, I have spotted something that is not quite right. Under each item in the rollover menu, it has a corresponding character.

For someone that is not familiar with Chinese or Japanese, one might think the characters are actual translations of “home”, “menu”, “general info”, and so on.

These are random characters that are there to give the website an “Asian” feel. Especially when is used for both “home”, “décor”, for “general info” and “reservations”.

Recently in Phoenix New Times, Stephen Lemons wrote this about another Scottsdale restaurant called Ippei Japanese Bistro:
“Ippei general manager Justin Cohen would not allow any photos of his restaurant's food. His lack of confidence is telling… Ippei aims to be destination dining, but it is not there yet. As of now, I'd rather do the five or six hours via car to L.A. But if you're in Ippei's vicinity, you could do worse. After all, both McGrath's Fish House and the White Chocolate Grill share the same complex.”

I was about to post this, then I got an email from Igor with this photo of a Japanese restaurant he visited.

What are those characters in the left plaque? It could be due to poor lighting, but doesn’t the chef appears to be more Hispanic than Japanese?

Domo Arigato, Senor Avocado San.

P.s. Do not even get me started on the establishment known as P. F. Chang’s.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Carlos Mencia Says "Get the Right Tattoo!"

Miara tipped me about during one of Carlos Mencia's monologues in season one of Mind of Mencia, Carlos has talked about people getting tattoos.

video: 3.35 MB windows media or YouTube
“…Let me get this straight, you got a tattoo in jail from a guy that has failed English and Spanish, but now he knows Chinese, is that what you telling me?

You have 26 letters in English and Spanish kicked his ass, but 1,300 characters in the Chinese language…

Are you retarded?! I can’t wait till this guy ends up in Chinatown and some Chinese guy goes: ‘oh, that is a beautiful tattoo, so you love to suck *bleep*…”
Having a tattooist who can't even spell words in English correctly to do your tattoo in another language would be a problem... It does sound like that person I recently got those angry comments from...