Written by

Andrew Millar


October 2, 2009

And while we are on the subject of Japanese television, I saw the supreme example of a Manglish t-shirt last night on a very funny program at involved people do impersonations. At then end of each act… only about 15 seconds.. the floor would open up and the person would disappear down a trap door. You knew it was coming but it had us rolling with laughter in our 12th floor Tokyo hotel room.

But it is not the only example of a Manglish t-shirt we’ve seen. While we’ve been wandering about Tokyo I’ve been writing down the best examples of English t-shirt slogans. They are not hard to find.

Some shirts get it almost right. ‘Please give me wings’ was one I spotted in Harajuku. It’s a nice thought. ‘Always look ahead heart’ comes into the category of if I think about it I can get what you mean. Even ‘Heart goes excited. Thumpity Thump’ is decodeable.

Though what ‘Enjoying friendly music games’ means I have no idea.

‘Funky Monkey Babys’ I later found out is a popular band here in Tokyo. Though having their music played behind the morning weather map is probably certain to condemn them to a popular music death.

Some t-shirts I’ve seen are just chringingly inappropriate. One seen on a small child’s shirt innocently said ‘Touch me’ Another on a petit young girl exclaimed ‘The usage depends on you.’

And then there are the totally unfathomable. ‘I make good poison’ or ‘Save it up for time up confidence’ make absolutely no sense, no matter how long you ponder. ‘The total survival of the main stream group in the sky‘ or ‘Head grossly wrong’ or ‘KWK Academy. Most interesting place’ are to be confined to the gibberish category.

The point seems to be just to have English on the shirt. That would explain one that simply said ’53th‘ and another that read ‘Original sunny. Alive to join the witches rave’.

But two have really stood out as clear and absolute winners of the ‘you’ve no idea what your shirt says’ category.

The first, not so much for what it said but for the fact that it was being worn by a perky young presented during a program that was tring to teach English.

His chest proclaimed… ‘Massager. The people of abmiration babble.’

And the final one achieved fame in my mind just for being on TV in the first place…

It said in very large capital letters…


You couldn’t miss it. Though the meaning I missed completely.