Japglish of the Week

Some names just don’t translate well. I used to drive a sport-utility vehicle made by Mitsubishi, which they called the Pajero. Unfortunately, pajero is also slang in some parts of South American Spanish, with a meaning similar to “wanker” or “jerk-off.” It’s marketed as the Montero in the Americas. In the case of Kinki Nippon Tourist, their name is inherently funny in English, no matter what they do. Kinki is the name of a region in Japan, so in Japanese it’s about like naming a travel agency “Pacific Coast Travel” when your home office is based in Los Angeles. Makes sense, though shows little originality.

Kinki Nippon Travel makes things even worse for themselves by preferentially using the acronym KNT! (with an exclamation point!) as their logo. I’ll let you think about that one for a moment.

The other day, a KNT! representative visited the office and distributed copies of company literature. Not only are there sexual connotations in both forms of the company name, but their travel magazine is named KNTaste.

Japan is so odd sometimes that you couldn’t make up weirder stuff if you tried.