I don’t think of myself as too much of a Japanese culture freak. I don’t read any manga, watch any anime, or own any blatantly Japanese video games. I don’t draw manga, either, and I think it’s really quite ridiculous to attach “-chan” or “-kun” to the names of my American friends. However, I’ve got to come clean on one account.

There are some Japanese snack foods that are absolutely delicious.

One of my favourite Japanese snacks is called “Yan Yan”. It consists of a bunch of biscuit sticks in a container that also holds a tub of frosting. The sticks, when dipped in the frosting, make a great-tasting snack. Of course, being a Japanese product, it has potential for Engrish.

During this summer, I noticed that this potential had been realized. I had purchased two containers of Yan Yan on a recent trip to Uwajimaya, a local Oriental supermarket, and when I opened one up, I found the most bizarre thing on my biscuit sticks: Little icons of animals had been baked on, along with odd sayings.

Being the analytical, records-oriented person I am, I took note of the animals and their respective sayings. For your enjoyment (or perhaps bewilderment), I present to you the Yan Yan animal sayings.

Sheep: Wool sweaters
Bat: Only in the night
Octopus: Lucky number: 8
Squirrel: Your best friend
Snail: Snail mail?
Fox: Beware of lies
Cow: Muuuuu
Stag beetle: Love it.
Starfish: Star + Fish
Goat: You are lucky today.
Rhinoceros: Think big
Whale: Biggesy (sic) mammal
Chick: Lucky colour: yellow
Horse: Gallop away
Chicken: Kokekokko
Zebra: Herbivore
Beetle: Lucky colour: brown
Squid: Black ink

I’m a fan of the stag beetle’s cryptic “Love it”, or perhaps the simple “Herbivore” for the zebra.

Oh, Engrish. You never fail to amuse.

One thought on “Yanny, Yanny, In My Tanny

  1. What the heck?

    That makes just as much sense as my “Warmly” shirt. Oh, the Japanese. How I love them and their amazing Engrish.

    My favorite sighting of Engrish when I was in Japan was:

    “Don’t put your heart on the self.”

    So…words of wisdom there, Spencer. Do not pass “GO”, Do not put your heart on the self.

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