Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fractured English

I had always been told that Japan is the world capital of fractured English slogans and t-shirts. Having been to China, I found that hard to believe, and now, having been to both, I am willing to take a stand: China makes the world’s weirdest t-shirts and billboards. Japan may have cornered the market on non-grammatical and charmingly malapropish English phrases (Pocari Sweat sports drink, for example), but China has the monopoly on the just plain weird. For example, I had only been in the country a matter of hours when I saw a middle-aged man at the airport meeting a flight wearing a t-shirt that said “Lesbians Taught Me.” (And believe me, I was dying to see the party he was waiting to meet.)

Later Pipi and I saw a teenaged boy near People’s Park (and within walking distance of the site of the first Chinese communist party meeting) wearing a shirt that said “Commies Aren’t Cool,” and I wonder if we were the only ones who saw the irony in that.

Shanghai photo gallery

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