Sunday, March 23, 2008


Reader Welton from Brazil sent in a photo of his friend's tattoo. It supposed to be his name "Washington".

However according to Alan, this tattoo is wrong in several levels:

First of all, the name Washington is usually written ワシントン [washinton] rather than ウォシントン [woshinton] as was presumably intended by the tattooist.

Next, someone left out the first , leaving only ウォシトン [woshiton]. Then, they used the large rather than the small , making the tattoo actually spelled ウオシトン [uoshiton], so I guess it would be pronounced sort of like the English words "Whoa Shit On." That's probably not quite what Mr. Washington wanted when he got his tattoo...

And finally, they left out one stroke in , making the character look more like the character but backwards.

It's sort of sad that people don't check these things before getting a huge tattoo that covers their whole arm.


  1. When I looked at it, the first thing that I read was ウナシトン (unashiton), with a badly-drawn ナ. The ウォ interpretation may be better though.

    Poorly done in any case.

  2. Maye a small break can be cut for being Brazilian, because Portuguese (along with many other other Romance languages) does not tend to use the letter W, using instead a U to get the same (or similar) sound. Maybe the same can be said of the O for A sound*. Still, those're not much in terms of concessions to the tattoo's, um, wisdom.

    *And, since people tend to be language-centric, whoever created the lettering may have assumed that the intended language treated the sounds the same way. Maybe.

  3. anonymous wrote:

    Maybe a small break can be cut for being Brazilian, because Portuguese

    Hmm. Good point. Does anyone know exactly how the name "Washington" would be pronounced in Portuguese?

    I can see how Mr. Washington may have said his name to a Japanese speaker, who then tried to represent the sounds in katakana as best they could, not realizing that the name was derived from the English name Washington.

    The name may not have been written down in Portuguese (or English) at all. If Mr. Washington had done so, he probably would have gotten a tattoo that said ワシントン as most people would expect.

    But still, I'm not sure we would have been able to count on the tattoist being careful enough not to leave out some strokes and characters when copying.


  4. I asked the half-rhetorical question:

    Does anyone know exactly how the name "Washington" would be pronounced in Portuguese?

    In an attempt to answer the question myself, I decided to look on YouTube and so I searched on "Washington Brasil" hoping that some Brazillian person would kindly pronounce the name on video for me.

    By sheer coincidence, I found several videos just like this. In particular, I found this one.

    It turns out that "Washington Brasil Tattoo" is the name of a tattoo and piercing parlor somewhere in Brazil, and this video is an ad for their shop.

    From the video, the name "Washington" in the name of the shop sounds to me as if it is pronounced more like ワージントン [wa-jinton].

    Sure, this is a little different from ワシントン [washinton], but I don't think this is a way to justify coming up with the tattoo's truly strange spelling ウオシトン [uoshiton] (if that is what it is supposed to be).


  5. Hello there! Although I see this thread is probably dead by now, i found it rather amusing. I was born and raised in Brazil, so I can tell you that, in Portuguese, Washington is commonly pronounced kinda like uosh-ton (with a stress on the first O). So yeah, I guess that it would sound a bit like "Whoa Shit On." =)