Specially Preserved Extravagance

Japanese English (sometimes called Japlish) is not new anymore, but it can still be surprising. Sometimes it is merely delightfully naive, but often it over-reaches, yearning for grandiosity and ending up bewilderingly senseless. And it is simply maddening when basic mistakes slip past a “proofreader” and end up on a billboard or all over a¬†line of products.

Why there is a never-ending stream of it (and where it comes from) is a constant source of fascination for native English speakers in Japan. Here are two recent examples that caught us by surprise and made us laugh.


For the sake of irreplaceable persons, we’ll dramatize a specially preserved extravagance.

How can so many large words with such excellent grammar, spelling  and punctuation end up with no meaning at all? We want to put this phrase in the hat the next time we play charades.


Rug Time

You are designing the expensive sign for the entrance to your new bar. The text references a major style of jazz, the theme of your enterprise. Should you look up the correct spelling? Nah, it’s almost 5 o’clock and the printer is waiting.

Best of all, none of it even matters. The English is there for style, not substance. Good advertising transcends even itself.

That could be on a t-shirt.

It probably already is.

2 Replies to “Specially Preserved Extravagance”

  1. Ha! I love it. The Jazz sign could have been worse. It could have been “Rub time”. Different kind of club…
    Enjoying your updates. Thanks!

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