Japanese Signs: I Could Read Them, if I Could Read Them

During my first visit to Japan in the summer of 2000, I lived with a host family in Kanazawa for one month.  Even though I was just in my early teens at the time, wanderlust had already become a favorite pastime.  (That probably explains why after having already separated from the group five times, the group leader of the homestay program became upset with me…)

In any event, one of those exploratory jaunts (auspiciously) led me into a building which housed a Brazilian sauna, replete with Polaroids of Brazilian and Japanese women wearing bikinis.  At the time, I didn’t know any Japanese – thus, I couldn’t read any signs, but from that point on, I could only imagine the possibilities… moreover, knowing Japan as I do now that’s likely the only establishment still in business in that building.

Fast-forward a few years to when I was able to read some of the language.  Great right?  Time to take lots of blurry photos of neon, check out the weird nightlife and hire someone with 20/20 vision–

Tokyo - Giant Vertical Neon Sign

Osaka - Giant Vertical Sign

I’d really like to see what’s going on up there, but gosh I just can’t read it to save myself.  On top of that, the club/store may not even let foreigners in anyway.

On second thought, I could always take up another hobby.

This entry was posted in Architecture, East & Southeast Asia, Human Nature, Japan and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Japanese Signs: I Could Read Them, if I Could Read Them

  1. I love those kinds of signs – trying to work out what kind of establishment they all are.
    When I went to Japan for the first time in 2003 as a 16 year old, I was in a homestay with a Korean single mum and daughter in Osaka. The mum owned a karaoke bar and they lived there too in a back room. As we went up the lifts there, the girl said in broken English that if I saw a cockroach, it was from one of the adult establishments that surrounded the karaoke bar in the building, and not from their place.

  2. Leave it to the Japanese to invent an app to translate signs into English. As we were only briefly in Japan on our way to Thailand I did not download the app. It may be called Waygo. Another app is Japan Goggles.

  3. Pingback: Everything’s Bigger in… East Asia? « buildingmybento

  4. Pingback: Elevators in China: Double-Edged Forks in the Road | buildingmybento


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