Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Huh?

For people who have no "home" we sure are doing a lot of home repairs/maintenance! All during the past 2 weeks, Big Dog and I have been re-tiling, caulking, pruning, cleaning, fixing things at the DogFather's house…and a few things at Big Bro's house, too. Then, after we got back to LA (and it's a mystery why I use that word "back" no matter where I'm going. It's not like our condo in LA is any more of a "home" than anywhere else. Hell, we hardly have any furniture -- finally got a dining table when a neighbor got a new one -- and we've been sleeping on the floor forever) we decided to tackle the tiny leak in the bathroom faucet by replacing the whole faucet fixture. And since we were doing it to the front bathroom, why not the back, too?

So off to Home Despot we went.

I don't like big warehouse sized stores. They generally have incompetent or disinterested staff. This time, however, our local hardware store didn't have the kind of faucet hardware we wanted. To our relief, we found what we were looking for at the Despot, quickly, and even got a checkout counter that had no one in front of us!

Zip, zip, zip. Our checkout was over that fast.
"Wow. That was quick!" we commented.
"That's because you're at Counter 28!" said the check out lady -- a lovely, dark haired woman in a black tank top. Her arms were covered in tattoos. There was a Chinese character, a kanji, on her right shoulder. It said 親 (oya or shin - the most common meaning is "parent" though it can mean "relative" or "to be intimate with.")

"Did you see her tattoo?" I giggled, as we left the store. "Oya? Oya? In Japanese, it would even be a pun, 'cause 'oya' would be like 'huh?' What do you think she was trying to say?"
"No idea."
"But to mark yourself so indelibly with something you don't understand! Why do they do it?"

There was a news report on tv about the Chinese going gung-ho about English in their preparations for the Beijing Olympics and how (give it the old I'm-a-serious-journalist-even-though-I'm-doing-a-fluff-story kind of tone) "some things are lost in translation."

"So now, it's 'Chinglish.' Old story," muttered Big Dog. Decades ago, he'd already done a number of stories on Japlish. Today, there are even a number of websites cataloguing Bizarre English. They're quite funny, but I'm waiting for someone to catalogue screwed up tattoos. A sign, a menu, a logo you can always change. I think it's a liiiiittle more difficult when it's inked into your skin.

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