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  • globalkiwi 8:51 am on November 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: billboard, , ,   

    Challenge #2: Signs! 

    A sign in the Foreign Language Institute (FLI)

    I have seen this sign in the building building that I have 2 classes, lunch and sometimes dinner in. While I can understand what is says, I didn’t understand why it needed to be said, until now. It is in the administrative building of the Foreign Language Institute. They encourage (or require)  non-native English speakers to speak English as well as non-native ones. It is immensely valuable in Korea to be able to speak English especially at the university level.

  • explorewithasmile 12:45 pm on October 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: billboard, , photo,   

    Challenge 2: Signs 

    Better late than never, right? I hope so.

    I found this iconic propaganda poster at the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Ha Noi. It was used to help fuel the unification movement in Viet Nam under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh first against French colonialism and then, perhaps more importantly, against American aggression.

    The words (without proper accents) “độc lập thống nhất hòa bình hạnh phúc” in English means “Independence, Unification, Peace, Happiness”.


    Makes you think, huh?

    • DougReilly 3:33 pm on October 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Ho Chi Minh is a fascinating character. I loved visiting his house on stilts in Hanoi. I also like to think about his time in the US as a younger man, wondering what he though about us and if he ever had any inkling that we might send whole armies to kill him! Otherwise, it is interesting to see that politicians everywhere find great value in carrying small children in front of the public!

  • melinthemiddle 1:00 pm on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: billboard, ,   

    Challenge #2 Signs & Billboards 

    This posting is from Melissa Hosek.

    I found this graffiti on a building located by Wuming Hu, the on-campus lake. The building was covered with prayers and wishes from students and prospective students; some asking for help getting accepted into Peking University,others asking for good luck on exams and their futures. I translated this particular piece of graffiti to mean “I hope my daughter or son will be accepted to Peking University.” I wonder if this was written by a current student or by a future parent who visited he campus. Whichever case it may be, I am impressed by the devotion and loyalty of these graffiti artists have for Peking University. I feel so lucky that I get to spend a semester here.

    • DougReilly 1:34 pm on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I like “Tony was here” in the middle. Very Zen.

    • Hannah 6:34 pm on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      My favorite part about Weiming Hu (未名湖) is the literal translation- “The lake without a name”
      As in, the name of the lake is ‘nameless lake’

      also the stone boat.

    • Kristyna Bronner 12:21 pm on October 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wow this is great! It definitely gives you a sense of how lucky you are to be attending your university! Maybe you should leave your own grafitti before the end of the semester…

  • appelsina7 3:32 am on September 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: billboard, , ,   

    Sign Challenge 


    Translation (A Special Thanks to Huy Kouan)

    Announcement: Training school for financial officials

    Commencement ceremony

    Training class for specialists (staff) in state management knowledge

    (At room B3.1, Second floor, B area (zone))

    I take classes a short walk away from the guesthouse where I have been staying for three weeks. There are other buildings around the building where I study but I did not know much about them until I took a picture of this sign and had it translated. Apparently all of the Vietnamese I have been seeing in business attire work for the state and are taking a class in the building right next to mine. Maybe I should try talking to them about Vietnam and their work here.

    The other day I was at dinner with a friend. We were sitting at the same table as a man with his family. I was very interested in what they ordered because I like to see what people here enjoy eating most. We started talking and I discovered that he was an immigration officer from Cambodia. I learned that if I am a little more out going with people I don’t know, I can have some very interesting conversations.

    Translation (A Special Thanks to To Thu Tra)
    University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh University
    Center of Economic Service
    Parking Lot Regulations

    1.  For students and business guests:

    • Move and park according to the regulations.
    • Keep the ticket with you, if the ticket is lost, notify the employee as soon as possible.
    • We don’t take responsibility for any personal belongings left behind.
    • No smoking, no littering, no fighting, and no elbowing .

    2. For the parking lot employees:

    • Wear uniform, name tag and work at the assigned position, absolutely no smoking.
    • Activelty help out the customers to park car at the right places.
    • Sell tickets at the assigned rate.
    • Make rounds and check on car on a regular basis.
    • Have to right to refuse returning vehicles in case of mismatching tickets or suspicions of a thief.
    • In case of lost tickets, only return vehicles upon seeing the proofs of ownership (ID, car registration form)

    I thought that this sign was interesting because it says in the parking regulations that fighting is not allowed but while I have been in Vietnam I haven’t seen anyone get angry to the point of violence. I saw a motorbike accident in which no one was injured and none of the people were angry at the individual at fault. They just picked up their bikes and drove away as though nothing had happened. I am surprised that in the regulations no smoking is listed twice, once for the students and once for the employees. People smoke everywhere here whether it is allowed or not, which was confirmed by the smoking guards working when I took this picture.

    • DougReilly 1:33 pm on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Those are great! It’s funny how something so simple can explain something you’ve been noticing but hadn’t yet formulated in your head as a question, like, “What are all these besuited people up to?” Imagine if you could read all the signs!

    • DougReilly 8:32 pm on October 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Congrats, Appelsina7, you’ve earned your Vere Sandals this week. Keep on walking talking and learning!

    • Tra 9:07 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations!!! It’s funny I’ve seen those “parking lots’ regulations” sign all my life but never stopped to read until I helped you with this

      • appelsina7 3:39 am on October 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I saw it and thought it might say something interesting! In the US we have tons of signs saying things like “Watch your step” but I hadn’t really noticed any of that type of interaction here. Since that wasn’t something I had noticed, when I saw the sign I thought that it must be important if it was instructing people how to act.

  • sallyintaiwan 12:53 am on September 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: billboard, , ,   


    When originally thinking about this post, I wanted to begin by stating that since I’ve been in Taipei I’ve never seen anything close to an illegal act— but if I am going to be fully honest I must divulge what I saw last night: a man at the microwave station in 7-11 essentially inhaling a hot dog bun, with chicken nuggets inside.   It seemed strange but what was even more shocking was the fact that he promptly made another one and walked out the door with out paying.

    He, like myself, happens to be a 外國人 (foreigner.)

    Thus, I am not able to begin this post the way I would like.

    Except for the lapse (or lack) of judgment by this one man, I am happy to report that I have never seen someone even litter on the streets of Taipei, or the like.  I have a feeling this stems from societal norms and expectations, but I cannot help but notice the number cameras interested in watching weather or not I take a sip of my bubble tea on the public transportation (like the metro I rode in DC all summer, eating and drinking on a train or bus is illegal.)  A sign stating the presence of these cameras is easy to spot in most public places—I usually like to play a game finding them all (and of course, waving) when waiting for the next train.

    This sign in particular made me smile because, well, it told me to…


    “Please smile, video surveillance!” it reads, at the entry to my school’s library.  And what is it watching for?  Apparently, the average umbrella thief.   The sign hangs directly above the spot where hundreds of umbrellas (which one should never leave home with out… you never know when the next 颱風 could hit) are stored on the many rainy days, keeping our library free of the puddles they make.  The sign, and corresponding camera, are polite reminders that if you forget your umbrella, it’s not a great idea to “borrow” a classmate’s.

    • appelsina7 9:35 am on September 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      It is interesting that no one litters in Taipei, the streets must be very clean! Here in Vietnam it is the opposite, it is very common to see people discarding things in the street, rather than in a trash can.

    • DougReilly 1:32 pm on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      There is actually a form of street theater that’s designed to be performed for CCTV security cameras!

  • jhboisselle 5:06 pm on October 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: billboard, , , Hangzhou, West Lake   

    China National Day and Signs! 

    Posting on behalf of Hannah Semaya:

    Last week was vacation week at Peking University, thanks to China’s National Day holiday. Taking advantage of the break, I (along with eight friends) journeyed on to Shanghai and Hangzhou. We took the bullet train (awesome) and stayed in hostels (interesting). The best part about our travel was that aside from the train tickets and hostel bookings, every day was completely unscheduled. No structured tour groups, no one dragging us along to sites we did not have any interest in seeing. What this resulted in was a wonderful week of wandering around both cities and seeing bits and pieces that never make it onto tourist trips. Hangzhou was especially fun for me, as I had not been there on my previous trip to China.

    Hangzhou is mostly famous for one thing- XiHu, or West Lake. The lake is gorgeous, and areas around the lake are filled with parks and lovely sites to see.

    -west lake

    When my friends and I had reached about half way around the lake, we began looking for food. The lakeside offered some options, but it was expensive and not very appealing. So we wandered away from the lake, finding our way to the street- myself and three friends. The street did not look any more promising- until my friend spotted the bus stop. And so we got on a random bus, having no idea where it was going, or how long it would take to get there. On the bus, we saw this fantastic sign:

    The fantastic thing about this sign is that in context, it makes sense. Out of context, it looks like a man with a raygun shooting lasers attached to his arm. Its actual purpose is to tell passengers to be careful breaking the window with a nearby hammer (if it needs to be broken).  The bus ride eventually led us to an amazing meal in a tiny restaurant, and then a visit to an amazing park outside a song dynasty museum.

    The second interesting sign I came across in Hangzhou was this:

    Yes, that is Uncle Sam inviting you to purchase real estate from “Kevin”. This sign was in an area with no other English businesses, and very few other foreigners in general. There seems to be absolutely no reason for the business to use Uncle Sam. There is no American aspect to the company (the sign above the building says the same thing as the English, just that it’s a real estate business). The only explanation seems to be that Uncle Sam is a recognizable symbol, and might be used to attract attention? I urge you, dear reader, to try to figure out any possible other explanation.


  • Sasha 9:34 am on October 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: billboard, ,   

    Weekly Challenge 3–Response! 

    Oh, how I love Engrish! Yup, you read that right. “Engrish.” It’s this wonderful new sort of English spoken by Japanese native speakers. And it is everywhere! To give you some idea of just how popular this new age written language may be, I have a short story.

    Event poster

    This past weekend I had the chance to go on a Japanese camping trip, which in itself was a fantastic experience (but that’s for another blog). I first saw a sign for the event up on the white board. I couldn’t wait to “get new friends all over the world!”

    Signing up via email, I received several return emails giving details about the

    One of many emails

    camp. We were given a full schedule of the trip. My particular favourite was “enjoying the free paint” and things to bring: a “smile.” We would “enjoy camp with all together!”

    Cover of booklet

    Upon our arrival, we received mini booklets of information about the camp and what to expect over the course of the next two days. The front of the booklet was covered in colourful pictures of previous years camping events.

    The inside of the booklet was filled with cartoons…and more Engrish. We would “make a new friends” (just one) and “lead” us to “have good memory.” Even better was the usage of the word “aggregation.” Certain words are certainly more important than others. The drawings of kids playing and a smiling Minnie Mouse were adorable!

    Fun cartoons and drawings

    This being only one example of the popularity of this new form of writing, there are numerous other places around Japan where such language can easily be seen. And I enjoy every word of it! Oh, Engrish! How you amuse me.

    • DougReilly 1:17 pm on October 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      That’s a ZINE!

      • Sasha 1:26 pm on October 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        THAT’s what those things are called. I knew that…. o.0 I stand corrected: we were given an Engrish filled ZINE! 😀

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