Daftar Blog Saya

Minggu, 28 Desember 2008

If douchebags like Criss Angel and David Blaine are your type of heros, here is a video for you:


Sensei Mike Capaldi breaks some wood pieces in shopping center's parking lot without touching them. Of all places, including his own studio and dojo; why would he perform this stunt on a sidewalk of some shopping mall?

By the way, even if the character at the bottom right was not upside-down, the text still makes no sense in Japanese.

Alan's best guess is that they took the word Oseibo (meaning "year-end present"), added a couple other characters for seasoning and mixed and mashed for a Japanese word-soup puree.

Tai-San style mind break, indeed.

I call it bullshit.

Minggu, 14 Desember 2008

A few years back there was a sitcom on NBC called Committed. In one episode, one of the lead character had some tattoo work done at New Orleans and it turned out to be something along the line of "of two men who love each other, you are the one plays the woman." Eventually he got the tattoo fixed to "Lemon Chicken."

www.hanzismatter.com/lemonchicken.mov (10.4MB)

Of course, that was only in a comedy sitcom.

No so!

Someone actually got Sesame Chicken tattooed on him and proud of it:


Jumat, 05 Desember 2008

Mark & Rachel pointed me to Victor Mair's recent post about the latest cover of Max Planck Institute's flagship publication, MaxPlanckForschung.

To honor the theme of the issue [China], the editors asked one of the journalists who worked for the magazine to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover. This was the result:

No sooner had the journal fallen into the hands of Chinese readers than it set off a frenzy of indignation, uproarious laughter, and animated discussion.

This is a rough translation of what the text says:

With high salaries, we have cordially invited for an extended series of matinées

KK and Jiamei as directors, who will personally lead jade-like girls in the spring of youth,

Beauties from the north who have a distinguished air of elegance and allure,

Young housewives having figures that will turn you on;

Their enchanting and coquettish performance will begin within the next few days.

When the powers that be at MPI found out what the characters on the front of their journal actually said — they immediately issued the following heartfelt apology:

Dear Colleagues,

The cover of the most recent German-language edition of MaxPlanckForschung (3/2008) depicts a Chinese text which had been chosen by our editorial office in order to symbolically illustrate the magazine's focus on "China". Unfortunately, it has now transpired that this text contains inappropriate content of a suggestive nature.

Prior to publication, the editorial office had consulted a German sinologist for a translation of the relevant text. The sinologist concluded that the text in question depicted classical Chinese characters in a non-controversial context. To our sincere regret, however, it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning, which are not immediately accessible to a non-native speaker.

By publishing this text we did in no way intend to cause any offence or embarrassment to our Chinese readers. The editors of MaxPlanckResearch sincerely regret this unfortunate error and would like to offer an unreserved apology to all of their Chinese readers for any upset or distress they may have caused.

The cover title has already been substituted in the online edition, and the English version of MaxPlanckForschung (MaxPlanckResearch, 4/2008) will be published with a different title.

We would ask you to forward this information to all Chinese scientists at your Institute. Please find attached the new version of the title. Perhaps you can distribute this print-out within your institute.

Here is the replacement cover:

(more at Language Log)

Update: The Independent UK - The original cover was a flyer from one of Macau's brothels.

Kamis, 04 Desember 2008

please interpret...

from: Jessica ***** <************@hotmail.com>
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 7:32 PM
subject: please interpret...

OMG - I have been looking for your site for years! I am so glad that I found someone to interpret and tell me how bad my tattoo really is. This is suppossed to say "SMS" - my ex's initials. I have never really known what exactly it said and would love to know that my body doesn't hold his name. Can you please help me! I would be very greatful to finally figure this mystery out. Thanks.

Congratulations, Jessica! The tattoo is gibberish.

Related: Gibberish Asian Font

Jumat, 28 November 2008

"celebrate the knowledge of a dangerous, crazy father"

Reader Kat has emailed me yesterday this photo of her husband's back:


He got it done four years ago and the characters should be Knowledge, Loyalty, Courage, Warrior, & Father.

Since Alan just got back from Japan, I forwarded this to him. Here is what Alan concludes:

Besides the terrible calligraphy, the character is missing a dot at the upper right-hand corner. Also, the stroke at the bottom center of 寿 is supposed to be a separate dot rather than the incorrect connected stroke pointing down and to the right that we see.

Anyway, the characters mean roughly as follows:
knowledge, consciousness
寿 congratulations, celebration, long life, sushi
danger, dangerous
crazy, insane, mad

Is this supposed to mean "celebrate the knowledge of a dangerous, crazy father" or something?

I don't get the whole picture but it doesn't sound very complementary to the "father." The characters do not seem to mean anything like they think they do.

Mirrored Death


Another gem from Rankmytattoos.com, it is a mirrored (death).

Minggu, 09 November 2008

"Spiritual Strength"

HS reader Anna sent this photo to our attention:


Its owner, LuvBug, said she got this exact tattoo along with two other friends and it meant "emotional and spiritual strength. "

Besides the obvious botchery of two characters, the phrase is not 100% grammatically correct.

In my opinion, the proper version should be or . However, Alan is much lenient & thinks is good enough.

Minggu, 02 November 2008

Bushido Virtues Lost

User "Silat1" posted this photo in tattooartists.com:


The seven virtue of Bushido are so poorly done, many have left with missing strokes.

Rectitude ()
Courage ()
Benevolence ()
Respect ()
Honesty ()
Honor ()
Loyalty ()

The character for rectitude has been spited into two, & . Instead of representing righteousness, it is "king me" which sounds more like a term from Chess. Or "The King and I", if he is a musical type.

Both respect & honesty are missing a stroke.

Any self-respecting samurai would have committed suicide long time ago to defend his reputation and honor.

These pseushido (pseudo+bushido) douchebags are such pussies.

Stuff White People Like #58 - Japan


This photo's caption says "My girl's 'Bitch' tattoo. So fitting"


However, means "prostitute".

Why would anyone want that to be displayed on their body?

Even so, she should at least tattoo a price list underneath. It is so hard (no pun intended) to haggle, when all the blood has left the brain and gone into the boner.

Tit for Tat

From checkoutmyink.com:


Not a good looking tit or tat .

Senin, 27 Oktober 2008


Facebook (remember the days when it was exclusive to students only?), aka. cum bucket of the internet, has so much to offer.

You can get reconnect with "friends" that you never had interest in real life, lose your privacy, get bombarded by clever data-mining advertisers, and blah blah blah...

It comes with no surprise there is a group called "CooLeSt TaTToo On FaceBook...." with this posted in it by Wayne Fright (go ahead and friendquest him):


Yep, it is an upside-down "Wendy".

Sabtu, 25 Oktober 2008

Enola's Tattoo in Waterworld

io9.com recently posted something about futuristic bad-ass tattoos, one that received much attention is on the back of Enola in Waterworld (it was a shitty movie by Kevin Costner, come to think of it, were any of Costner's movies good?).

From Engrish & Hanzi Smatter
I thought Enola was a dwarf when I first saw the movie. Perhaps that was because the camera's angle that made her head huge and shrunk her torso.

The characters on the left of the circular thing is "latitude" and "longitude" on the right. I don't know why the movie people decided to break two characters into three. It is not like they are saving any flesh space.

The characters inside of the circular part is longitude & latitude's actual coordinates.

Latitude = 27° 59' N
Longitude = 86° 56' E

Spoiler alert: it is the location of Mount Everest.

Minggu, 19 Oktober 2008

Nov 2008 Wired - Lost, in Translation

In November 2008 issue of Wired magazine, there is an interesting article about underground (or should that be "under-net") volunteers that would add subtitles to popular American television shows for those who do not understand English.

The concept is interesting however the illustration accompanying the story is not so.

While both English and Arabic alphabets are up-right and correct, the four Chinese characters are upside-down.

means "serious laughter" in Chinese.

This is second time I have spotted Wired magazine making similar snafu.

Sabtu, 11 Oktober 2008

Scary Spice, tell me what you want?

While scanning through gossip site, The Superficial, I came across several images of Melanie Brown, aka. the former Scary Spice, modeling for Ultimo Autumn/Winter lingerie line.


I have no idea what the character circled in red supposedly to be.

Is it ? Or, is it ?

Oh, Melanie B, why can't you tell me what you want, what you really really want? According to the song, what she really wanted was "zigazig ha".

Kamis, 09 Oktober 2008

Sharing the Misfortune


is a Chinese idiom means "to share the misfortune together". If this was picked from a tattoo template book, I am sure there are many sharing this misfortune.

BBC: The Kremlin Digger

Alan noticed something odd about the photograph in BBC's article about Russian journalist, Elena Tregubova.


Alan says: "The Japanese in the background is obviously reversed. Perhaps the BBC published a mirror-image reversed copy of the photo. Although obviously intended to be Japanese, the text in the background is not exactly legible anyway and it does not seem to make any sense. Maybe the Japanese is reversed on the background image. Who knows? I’m not sure why such a journalist would want to be photographed in front of such a gibberish background. Is this fashionable in Russia or something?"

My guess would be it had something to do with paragraph 3 of the article:

"In one chapter, its author describes a flirty sushi lunch with Vladimir Putin, then head of the Russian security services, the FSB."

Sushi, #42 on list of things White people like.

Kamis, 25 September 2008

Lebanese Tattoo by Moe Barjawi

Alan spotted this photo of what appears to be Kanji tattoo by Moe Barjawi in BMEzine's gallery:


Alan emailed me this after seeing it:

Let me see if I got this right. Some tattooist named “Moe” tattoos himself with his name in the “Gibberish Font” and, thinking this will be good advertising for his tattoo shop named “Lebanese Tattoo,” posts a picture of it on BMEzine.com… They never learn, do they?

What is even more astonishing is that someone has evidently tried to “improve” the original horrible calligraphy (especially on the partial 辶). Did they really think that bad calligraphy was the only problem? The mind boggles.

What is even more entertaining is definition for the term "Lebanese tattoo" in UrbanDictionary.com is the following:

A badly drawn tattoo, done at a 'professional' tattoo studio. The term first surfaced on the facebook group 'Actually, I think your tattoo is hideous'.

Kamis, 04 September 2008

Name-dropping in American Philosophical Society's Publication

Reader Bryan points me to the latest issue of American Philosophical Society's publication, where this humble little site was mentioned on page 54.

The main article is titled "How Maya Hieroglyphs Got Their Name: Egypt, Mexico, and China in Western Grammatology since the Fifteenth Century" by Byron Ellsworth Hamann from
Department of Anthropology and Department of History, The University of Chicago.


The illustration shown above had this caption:

Car ornamentation with “Chinese” characters, photographed in Almería, Spain, in August 2006. The third character from the left is dao (“way” or “path”); the rest are nonsensical (or, as James Mathien put it, “Fakenese”). Mayanists might refer to these as “pseudo-glyphs.” Photograph by the author [Hamann].

The article is sixty-eight pages long, so be patient or get a few liters of beer in you before proceeding.

Senin, 18 Agustus 2008


Every time I see signs for Sierra Mist, I laugh. It is because "mist" in German slang means "[something] with terrible quality".


This person probably think his/er tattooed means "lotus", but that depends how it is read.

In Japanese, it means "burden".


I was showing a visiting friend parts of northern Arizona over the weekend, when we encountered this young lady at Sedona.

She probably has no clue what the three characters on her t-shirt meant, nor the fact there are mirrored.

Update: August 24, 2008 - Reader BH pointed out that Sinful is a brand of women apparel & this particular shirt is available for US$40.

Senin, 28 Juli 2008

Amor, Dios, Familia

A couple of days ago I received this photo link in Flickr from Sara in Canada.


Its caption in Spanish said:

Amor, Dios, Familia
Traduccion literal
Ama a Dios cmo a tu Familia

Which means,

Love, God, Family
Literal translation
Love your God & family
Love God the way you love your family

Nice sentiment, however there probably will not be much love for the tattooist. Love & Family are mirrored.

Kamis, 17 Juli 2008


Here is another reason why it is a bad idea to tattoo a person's name onto your own flesh:


利娅 is the Chinese transliteration for "Leah".

Kamis, 03 Juli 2008

Nereida Gallardo's "Ass-Guard"

Nereida Gallardo, the hot girlfriend of football star Cristiano Ronaldo, has some characters tattooed on her lower back.


I would assume there are more characters tattooed below her bikini bottom, otherwise the exposed portion of means "armed friend", or in this case: "ass-guard".

It sounds like a punchline for some anti-anal-sex joke.

(Thanks, John)

Sabtu, 21 Juni 2008

The Key to Harmony

I went by a local Blockbuster store today to rent There Will Be Blood (good character development, a bit slow for my taste, could've be an hour shorter) , and saw this plaque in the garb section:

The first two characters and are correct, but I don't know why the character for "key", , is referred as "harmony".


Rabu, 04 Juni 2008

Lost Soul Tribal Tat

Alan points me to one of the latest photos in BME:


The caption suggests this is a tribal style tattoo, however it is not true. This is just another ill-informed individual got quasi-Chinese gibberish tattooed on his arm.

Interesting enough, this same tattoo design has appeared before. We are not certain if it is the same person who likes to flaunt his tat or great minds (or lack of) think alike.

Minggu, 04 Mei 2008

What is it?


This photo was posted in BME's gallery on April 17, 2008 with caption of "poem".

However, I have no idea what it suppose to be.

Please feel free to comment if you know what it is.

Minggu, 13 April 2008

Kosuke "It's Gonna Happen" Fukudome

At a recent baseball game between Chicago Cubs & Milwaukee Brewers, fans of Cub's Kosuke Fukudome (福留 孝介) decided to make some signs to show their support for the Japanese player.


However the phrase they wanted was mistranslated by machine translator seen here.

The resulting 偶然だぞ is not flattering at all and is actually rather insulting, implying that Fukudome’s successes were merely a result of pure chance and not talent at all.

Related: Cubs pull racist fukudome t-shirt

Sabtu, 12 April 2008

Spalding's World Class Karate

I saw this ad in my junk mail yesterday for Spalding's World Class Karate.

Upon closer look, there is something not quite right with the logo:

According to its website,

Sensei [Daniel Spalding] was inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame as the "2007 Male Martial Arts Leader Of The Year" and the "American Karate Man Of The Year."

However in United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame website for 2007 inductees, Spalding is not there.

Sabtu, 05 April 2008

Mr. Sweet & Sour Pork

Meet Daniel S., aka. Mr. Sweet & Sour Pork,

According to Daniel S., this tattoo was intentional & he was "looking for something humorous, yet also an affront to those people who have supposedly 'deep' meanings in Chinese."

Although it is not incorrect, any serious foodie would know, Sweet & Sour Pork is actually written as 咕嚕肉.

A similar dish is called 酢豚 in Japan.

That is no "Courage"

With two previous posts about the same incorrect tattoo, one would get the hint this does not mean "courage":


Yet this young lady got it done at Skin Gallery in Prairie Du Chien, WI & posted a photo in BME's gallery under the impression that meant "courage".

大過 【たいか】 (n) serious error; gross mistake; big mistake or shortcoming; (punishment in school, etc.) a major demerit.

Minggu, 30 Maret 2008

Don McLeroy & "Crazy Chinese Words"

(photo: tfn.org)

The Texas State Board of Education recently issued a recommended reading list, which has been criticized for lacking diversity: Educators rip book list in English plan.

A draft of the curriculum, released Wednesday, includes more than 150 literary works that Texas public school teachers should consider using for their courses. Only four of them reflect the Hispanic culture, a woefully low figure they fear will limit the exposure of the state's 4.7 million schoolchildren to cultural diversity.

When confronted with criticisms, Board Chair Don McLeroy, who responded by saying:
"What good does it do to put a Chinese story in an English book?" he said. "You learn all these Chinese words, OK. That's not going to help you master... English. So you really don't want Chinese books with a bunch of crazy Chinese words in them. Why should you take a child's time trying to learn a word that they'll never ever use again?"

He added that some words -- such as chow mein -- might be useful.
Not if the child decides to get a tattoo later on, Don. Or the child might become U. S. Secretary of State, quotes what he/she thought was a Chinese proverb, and get his/her's ass laughed at by those "crazy Chinese" as well as late night comedy show host. All because he/she never read "those Chinese books with a bunch of crazy Chinese words in them".

If you would like to add your thoughts & comments about this matter, Mr. McLeroy's contact information is available at Texas State Board of Education website. It might helpful to drop a few "crazy Chinese words" like 閉門造車 in your comments.

Sabtu, 29 Maret 2008

Audrina Patridge's Pork Fried Rice

Thanks to OK! magazine, Defamer, WWTDD & many others for bring this to my attention:

Ms. Audrina Patridge has recently got 豬肉油煎的米 tattooed on her forearm. It is unclear if the tattoo is genuine or some kind of publicity stunt.

However the tattooed phrase is not grammatically correct. What has been tattooed is direct translation from English word-per-word to Chinese of "pork; oil fried; rice grain".

If she wanted "pork fried rice", it should be 豬肉炒飯.

Tyler Durden has summed this up:

"...White people need to knock it off with the Chinese lettering tattoos. I'm a big fan of white people and being white is terrific, but we're kind of dumb, and the overwhelming majority of us don't know how to use Chinese... God only knows WTF she thinks it means. It turns out that guy [tattooist] isn’t an expert on Chinese. Shocking, yes?"

Minggu, 23 Maret 2008


Reader Welton from Brazil sent in a photo of his friend's tattoo. It supposed to be his name "Washington".

However according to Alan, this tattoo is wrong in several levels:

First of all, the name Washington is usually written ワシントン [washinton] rather than ウォシントン [woshinton] as was presumably intended by the tattooist.

Next, someone left out the first , leaving only ウォシトン [woshiton]. Then, they used the large rather than the small , making the tattoo actually spelled ウオシトン [uoshiton], so I guess it would be pronounced sort of like the English words "Whoa Shit On." That's probably not quite what Mr. Washington wanted when he got his tattoo...

And finally, they left out one stroke in , making the character look more like the character but backwards.

It's sort of sad that people don't check these things before getting a huge tattoo that covers their whole arm.

Chino Latino

Minneapolis restaurant Chino Latino (612-824-7878) uses pseudo-Chinese characters as profanity alternatives in billboard ad. (Photo by Beijing Sounds)

If the restaurant wanted to advertise and not get fined by the FCC, why not put some effort into it & do it correctly:

"A 2-hour vacation from the 他媽的 weather"?

What is written on the billboard are repetition of "新仿宋文[体]", which means "new imitated Song typeface".

A better question would be:

"Why did Chino Latino chose its location to be at a 鬼不生蛋的地方?"

* Speaking of bad weather, I was in Quebec City last week & right before my return flight was scheduled to take off from Québec Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB), a Canadian medical plane crash landed after its front landing gear collapsed & slipped off from the runway.

Due to this fiasco, my flight was delayed for two hours, consequentially I missed my connection at Detroit & had to stay there over night. Detroit is a very depressing city. It looks like a nuclear bomb has gone off there.

Kamis, 20 Maret 2008

Cameron Mark, aka. Kamokuron Shinkai

From Alan Siegrist:


From the caption, this tattoo (Feb. 20, 2008 in BMEink) with the characters 火目論真開 was evidently supposed to represent the name Cameron Mark, but I think it falls a bit short of the mark, so to speak.

Now, there might be “cute” ways to represent English names in Japanese using kanji instead of the traditional katakana. For example, Cameron in katakana is カメロン [kameron] but this might be a bit boring so some people might write 亀論 (which is similarly pronounced kameron) for a play on words meaning “Turtle Theory.” If you like turtles, why not?

But in our example火目論真開, using the characters 火目 for [kame] is really “forced” because this is a strange combination of different types of readings of characters. The 火目論bit could be something of a lame joke meaning “Tuesday-Thursday Theory” (火曜日 is Tuesday and 木曜日 is Thursday) but then it must be read Kamokuron not Kameron and is no longer a play on words.

And to top it off, 真開 cannot be pronounced anything close to “Mark.” The character is definitely wrong. 真開 could conceivably be read マカイ [makai] but not マーク [ma-ku] which is the Japanese equivalent of the name “Mark.” In fact, 真開 is a rare Japanese surname read しんかい [Shinkai].

So the guy has managed to name himself Kamokuron Shinkai.

Mixed Martial Arts Figher

My good buddy, Jon Rahoi, sent me photos of a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.

Jon says:

One of these mutant fighters was sporting some Chinese tat, that, upon further inspection, was actually Japanese. I think it's trying to say, "I'll win in spite of
yesterday?" or something like that.

Plus, making "I" two characters wide on the top makes it confusing at first glance to figure out if it should be read top-down or left-to-right. Anyway, not sure your final verdict on this but it's totally suspect.

HS senior resident pro-bono Japanese consultant Alan Siegrist concludes that:

The order of characters is strange, and I guess someone has left out a few words or characters. The grammar is also wrong because they are using the future tense for something that happened in the past.

This is very weird.

Anyway, I guess the intended order is: 我は昨日のに勝つ.

This would mean roughly something like "I will win yesterday's ___."

I guess the word in the blank is supposed to be "match" or something, since these guys are some sort of MMA fighter guys.

Maybe he didn't have enough money to let the tattooist finish the tattoo or maybe he weenied out at the last minute. Maybe he couldn't stand the pain.

Selasa, 18 Maret 2008

David Beckham's Chinese Tattoo

I have received many emails regarding David Beckham's new tattoo.

Many gossip sites are questioning the actual meaning & legitimacy behind his tattoo.

Lucky for Beckham, his tattoo styled in Chinese Cursive Script (also known as Grass Script) is correct.

, which is Chinese proverb of "death and life have determined appointments, riches and honor depend upon heaven."

Jumat, 15 Februari 2008

Two Women Under One Roof

A few days ago reader Glenn emailed me a clip of NBC's television series, Life. The episode's title is "Farthingale".


In this clip, Detective Crews (Damian Lewis) is telling his partner that "the Chinese symbol for 'war' is two women under one roof".

This absolutely incorrect & there is no such character in Chinese dictionaries.

Matter of fact, this somewhat sexist proverb originated from English in 1417. The original quote in Old English was:
Two wymen in one howse,
Two cattes and one mowce,
Two dogges and one bone,
Maye never accorde in one.

Western Folklore, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Apr., 1957), pp. 121-124, doi:10.2307/1497029

In the book titled "A Short History of the Chinese People" by L. Carrington Goodrich (ISBN 1406769762), it has stated that "there is no such character exist in Chinese dictionaries".

As Dr. Kelley L. Ross (interesting trivia: Dr. Ross is the nephew of R. L. Les Kelley, the founder of Kelley Blue Book) pointed out on his website:
It is sometimes said that the Chinese character for "trouble" shows two women under one roof. Such a character is possible, and would look like this , but there actually is no such Chinese character, though I understand that the myth lives on the internet.
The way I suspect how this hoax spread so rapidly is because the Chinese character for peace & tranquil is , which illustrates a woman 女 under the roof.

However, someone has decided to piece two cultural & linguistic references together to make a joke:
"You know the Chinese character for peaceful or tranquil is , one woman under a roof. Do you know what the character for war is?"

"Two women under one roof?"


All right people, let's put an end to this urban myth!