The pop-up museum, being held at Tokyo’s UltraSuperNew Gallery in Harajuku, features some classics such as “please urinate with precision and elegance” and “When coffee is all gone. It’s over.” The exhibition is actually a publicity campaign from language learning app Duolingo.
Ah… this takes me back. I used to spend hours and hours at engrish.com and laugh at the silly translations. It's here that I first encountered classics like Chocolate Collon, horny removers, and — of course — the masters of wonky name drinks: Calpis and Pocari Sweat.
It's only after starting to learn about Japanese that these weird translations started to lose their shine. It became obvious that either the English had a different value, the translation itself was correct, but unfortunate, or someone trusted Google Translate a bit too much.
Sometimes 'sweat' is excreted by the body, sometimes 'sweat' means you should drink it when your body excretes it. And in a strange life-imitates-art-gone-wrong reversal, my latest visit to Tokyo, lead me past an Eggslut.
Which has its origins in New York. Just goes to show how flexible even wonky language is.