Monday, June 29, 2009

from: Taija N.
date: Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 7:27 AM
subject: Tattoo


I got a tattoo few years ago, when i was young and now I think I really didn't think it through. In tattoo there is cat (looks like a rat), so I started to wonder if the mark with the cat is really real. Does it say anything, is it false?

When I took it, it had meaning for me. Now I can't even remember that word what it was supposed to meant. I've checked all the possibles I know it could be, but haven't found that mark anywhere. I know, I've might been a stupid and I really don't understand how I forget it. Maybe it was that I didn't really understand what it meant and I just trusted the man who tattooed it.

I've read too much stories about people having stupid, even insulting or meaningless tattoos, so I just want to know if mine is real.

I guess, good thing is no one japanese or Chinese haven't ever stared it or laughed:D

Thank you very much in advance. I hope you can help me. I put the picture of tattoo for you.

Taija N.


It looks like to me, what do you think?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

from: David L.
date: Sun, Jun 14, 2009 at 12:11 PM
subject: tattoo meaning

Hi, I'm called David Lopez.

I'm from Barcelona and I would like to know that it means a tattoo that I did to myself years ago.
I believe that it is Chinese and though I did it for aesthetics, now I am afraid of taking a meaning that I don't want.

My girlfriend and I would have a lot of interest to know the real meaning of my tattoo.

Thank you very much in advance. You will be of great help!


tattoo meaning

means "buy/trade", means "road, path", means "card".

賈路卡 sounds like a type of prepaid card that allows its owner to access public transportation. Typically it is called 乗車券 定期券 (short for 定期乗車券) in Japan and 月票 in China.

Some readers suggested this could be translation of "Jeanluc", but that is not correct. Jeanluc is 吉魯克.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Massachusetts is red(-faced)

Dr. Victor Mair, who wrote about the MaxPlanckForschung Cover Fiasco, points me to another piece in Language Log.


Dr. Mair says:

Reading the New Yorker on the train this morning, I was struck by the full-page ad following p. 17. When my eye drifted down the page a little, I had a bit of a shock.

I could immediately read the four Chinese characters on the arch over the entrance to Boston's Chinatown: ("All-under-Heaven Is a Commonwealth"), reading left to right. What left me disoriented is that each of the characters in the inscription was reversed. But then I realized that the entire inscription was a mirror image of what it should be. In other words, all four characters should be flipped over as a group and read from right to left.

As shown in the ad

Corrected (Note: classical Chinese is written right-to-left, hence the corrected image shows 公為下天 instead of 天下為公)

While not as embarrassing as the MaxPlanckForschung Cover Fiasco, I think that the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism might consider asking the advertising agency responsible for the New Yorker slip-up to give them a partial refund.

Update: This snafu is brought to you by Connelly Partners in Boston, MA.

Go to "our work", print, MOTT, it's the third one.

(Thanks to anonymous for the tip.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Translation of friend's tattoo

from: James H.
date: Sun, Jun 7, 2009 at 12:31 PM
subject: Translation of friend's tattoo

My friend Trev got this tattoo several years ago and he claims it means "survive". A Japanese woman in a sandwich shop gave us some reason to doubt this when she claimed it does not translate to that but she declined to translate it for us, She did say it was "nothing bad" though. As you can imagine I'm looking forward to mocking him if it is wrong. Any idea what it says?

I forwarded this to Alan Siegrist and he had this to say:

The tattoo reads する [sonzoku suru] which means to "continue to exist."

This is not the same as the ordinary meaning of to "survive" in English which should be translated [ikinokoru], when referring to a person surviving some sort of disaster like a plane crash, or surviving to old age.

The verb する is not used to refer to people, but rather some sort of inanimate object or concept.

Perhaps might be used in the legal concept of "survivorship" so that might be how the mistake occurred.

I guess this is sort of "close but no cigar."