With my recent spree of rant posts, I feel the need to lighten things up a bit (just in case more ranting will ensue in the near future). It took me several months before I recognized a perfect example of Japanese innovation (?) with incorporating English into daily life.
In the conbinis (convenience stores) I often saw bags of chips plastered with a giant ‘W’ usually accompanied by a phrase in Japanese about there being more flavor or more volume. I just thought it was something strange that became more widely recognized as meaning “MORE!”
It wasn’t until I saw a TV commercial a few weeks back that I realized exactly what it meant, and it’s easy to infer why.
‘W’ is generally pronounced in English as “double-u” (unless you’re George “Dubbya” Bush). Instead of “double-u,” the Japanese came to understand it as “daburu,” which sounds like the Japanese pronunciation of the English word “double.”
So those extra delicious, almost American size chip bags aren’t just more flavor and/or more volume. They are double!
I only realized this after seeing a commercial for laundry detergent where the only thing the lady says while holding the bottle emblazoned with a ‘W’ is, “Daburu.”