Oh Japan, I love your English

So I haven’t written a post about teaching for ages, probably because I haven’t been doing much apart from private lessons. I have, however, been finding and laughing at various examples of either signs or things that people say to me.

In the last two days I’ve found some crackers which I need to share here.

The first was in a bookshop yesterday while I was shopping with one of my Japanese male friends. He’s a graduate student and is heading to Australia next year to study English and work part-time. He wanted to buy a book on TOEFL and so we were browsing through the English-language study section. He was up one end of the aisle and I was down the other flicking through various phrasebooks and half-listening to the English CD that was playing sentences in English and then the Japanese translation.

The sentence below not only cracked me up but made me wonder, A. Why are people learning this particular phrase? B. Who would use this particular phrase? and C. When would you use this particular phrase?

Oh and D. Am I being immature laughing at this?

My answer: no. If you answered yes, Jack, you should grow up, you need to stop reading my blog right now. There are no grown-ups around here, only big kids.

So, the sentence was:

“Playing with my cat relieves my stress.”

I was laughing like a crazy person and immediately texted a female friend of mine to say,

“Hey, if you changed just one word (cat) in this sentence it would mean something completely different, but it sure still does relieve your stress!”

I can still hear her laughing through my phone and from an entirely different continent.

The second sentence was in a shop that sells various toys, gags, books and multiple other weird and wonderful things. There was a section with superheroes and quotes they’re known for saying.

One of the quotes should have read, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but they’d made a mistake and used a different vowel so it said,

“What doesn’t kill you makes your stranger.”


Oh Japan, I love your English. Sometimes it’s confusing, sometimes it’s annoying, but dear God, most of the time it’s fucking hilarious.

Don’t ever change.


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