Review: Asobo land

Let’s Play land treat pack

While shopping recently I came across this absolute gem. It’s called “Asobo ランド” or let’s play land. To play in Japanese is 遊ぶ which changes to the volition form 遊ぼうor let’s play in English.

This is one of those special products anywhere else in the world would be considered either inadvisable or be recalled so fast it would make your head spin.

A few of these products will just be reviewed on social media but they were nothing special. I will start with the holy grail of political incorrectness, a curry snack. This must be seen to be believed. Ready for it?

Curry snack

Dear God, where should I even begin? How about at the top? Firstly the Hindi used is a transliteration of the Japanese カレースナック which is a translation of the English phrase curry snack. Next the curry (I’m not avoiding the elephant in the room) which is a Japanese style curry with otherwise Indian themes.

Finally, the character. Please note this review will NOT sound especially nice. I will start with the turban, tradationally work by Sikhs in India without the gem in the middle which is more representative of the Pagri, a symbol of honor. Next, the art style looks like an India version of the black face cartoons from the early 20th century- which besides being racist are not representive. The curry is extremely detailed and to scale, which says even more about the character. Finally the ears; do I really need to say anything else? Moving on.

The product was quite tasty, with an exceptionally mild curry taste and a decent crunch. It was a good snack- disregarding the packaging.

Snack selection

The rest of the snacks were standard generic Japanese snacks.

The small milky hard sweets with the picture of the girl on the packaging were small milk flavoured bonbons. If that sounds disgusting don’t worry, they were. I love milk but the sweets tasted like rancid milk bonbons, a unique take on it. Do not try, or only give to enemies or people you wish to prank.

The caramel peanut corn chips were sweetened corn chips and were okay at best. They felt like a twinky i.e. you would only choose to eat them because you grew up with them. All in all, they were forgetable.

The jelly straws claimed that they each have a unique flavour, of which there was a hint but not much more than that. They were strangely nice, completely full of terrible ingredients, but tasty.

I hope you enjoyed reading and happy exploring. Check out the social media pages for a few extra products from this bag.

Opinion: why?

The tag line reads: a third of people are unable to see this advertisement.

There is a weird theme in Japan which rarely surfaces, and when it does it almost needs to be celebrated and that is weird media.

This is most noticable when googling Japanese game shows, or seeing strange pages of manga or viewing weird anime but it can make its’ way into newspapers.

The advertisement is nothing special- as you could expect it just talks about their products. But here’s a challenge (if you can understand any Japanese), please look at the image and try to make out what is said- either what kana you know, what kanji or if you can read the whole thing. It shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes- but your eyes will not thank you for this experience.

Opinion: Warning hell inbound

Advertising for frozen 2 has started… dear God

Its comming and I don’t mean the C word

After a long day at work, I go to the conbini to find a small treat and this…item jumped out on a bottle of green tea.

For those that cannot read Japanese, it says “Anne and the Snow Queen 2” aka FROZEN.

When I was last in Japan, “ありのままの自分になるの” was everywhere- shops, arcades, TV, all over campus ( I was a student) etc and now as a teacher of all ages….dear God not again.

To the parents who will buy items for their little ones, please keep it out of the classroom I don’t want to be a bit more insane thank you.

It’s coming…..

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

Consumption tax: environmental consequence

The 2% increase has a knock-on effect

A set meal (with added plastic…)

 On midnight on October 1st, consumption tax in Japan increased by 2% for some products. This has mostly affected ‘luxuries’ including alcohol, tobacco and sit in meals.

The last one has had strange effects, Japan Today reports that supermarkets have removed benches as they don’t want to be seen as a sit-in eatery and thus people are required to pay an extra 2% (how this would work after checking out I don’t know).

While watching a daytime talk show at the gym (strange I know), they were reporting that many people are now getting food to go rather than sit in. Personally, this seems a bit petty. For example, if you order 牛丼 (ぎゅうどん-gyuudon) or a beef bowl with rice, it may cost 380 JPY to go or 387 JPY to sit in. That saving of seven yen has resulted in more and more people getting their food to go instead of sitting in. This has resulted in further use of single use plastics as bowls, wrappings for chopsticks, wrappings for serviettes etc.

Or simply put, a saving of seven yen may help your wallet, but it may further destroy the environment.

What can be done? There would need to be a change of customer service culture in Japan and an attitude change towards sustainability i.e. allowing the use of reusable containers. Such changes are coming extremely slowly- so don’t expect miracles.

For the moment, plastic is king in Japan- the environment is second.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring

Opinion: you couldn’t make this up

Cultural experience day on 6th of October

As I am catching the train to get to work, I see a poster for Iga International friend association fair this Sunday, which seems like a bit of fun. So I pickup a leaflet and start checking it out.

Under the section which highlights some of the things you can do, there is the usual international offerings: calligraphy, making badges, wear different national costumes, smoking experience…. You read that correctly. As the leaflet was in more than one language, I make sure I understood the English correctly and the Japanese clearly states: 煙道体験 endotaiken.

Once again smoking seems to take, literally, central stage in a cultural experience. Hopefully when I go, it’ll be at least informative and not “look at me smoking, aren’t I cool?” type of vibe.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

English speaking learnt I have not?

Random English use in Japan: part 1

Japan has a fascination with foreign languages – most noticeable its use on everyday products. There are many such examples and I could dedicate the blog to bad English use in Japan- but that would get repetitive. I will however choose weird use, while not necessarily bad, you must question why this was chosen.

The first picture features a lovely phrase on a recycling container. Grammatically it is fine, but the message is a little existential for a recycling container. “Would you like to review what your life should be…?”- where shall I begin?

Firstly, “like to review”, think over your life and evaluate it but do nothing? Or review your live and put an implement an action plan to have the live you want? Next, “what your life should be”, is okay but wouldn’t “where you life should be up to”, read a bit better or as the message is trying to say “are you happy with your lot in life?”

Regardless of this, it’s a recycling bin- why are such questions being asked on this to people who most lively will not understand the English on it?

Grammar my old friend please come back to Japan again….moving on. “Today’s schedule with [a] smile”, is okay but what about tomorrow’s schedule or next weeks etc? It seems a little bit fixed in addition to this, there is no theatre in Nabari so there’s that problem.

Or does the schedule consist of cleaning and that’s it- which is a slightly darker look on Japanese households. Also, are you supposed to check once completed? The message is a bit confused.

These 2 are just the start of a series of Japenglish to come, in addition to Japench (Japanese French) which is usually used correctly.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring  

Introuduction

Welcome to exploring languages

I have started the blog to allow myself and, more importantly, you to explore the worlds of languages and see how diverse the world is.

Why do this?

  • A lot of resources are wrapped in their native languages and the ‘unpacking’ needed is done automatically by speakers of that languages
  • language and language learning is such an integral part of the global community- a culture cannot be kept in isolation

There will be more to come and there will be different topics at times. But, I hope that you enjoy your journey of language discovery.

Some topics that I will cover will include specific language resources I have found useful and I hope you find them useful too.

Like living languages, this blog will grow, change, and develop and I hope that you enjoy reading in a month or in a years’ time.

Lastly, this blog may be Japanese heavy at times as I do live in Japan, for now at least.

Happy reading and welcome to the world of languages

Languages in use. Iga-ueno castle (and a hint for next time)