Ever since a friend of mine spent 2000 yen trying to win an "English Dictionaly" from a UFO catcher, I have admitted the possibility that the writers of some of the hystierical Engrish around me are laughing too. Are we simply falling victim to a massive linguistic conspiracy? Perhaps I am being totally outsmarted by people who might not know how to form a fully correct English sentence, but who certainly know how to form a highly amusing *incorrect* sentence.
Take this video game console for example:
A friend spotted it in Daiei, and you'd better believe that a few thousand yen loosened themselves in my wallet in preparation to fight for this linguistic treasure. Imagine it: a video game console that manages to be inclusive (EVERYBODY!!), instead of judgemental and mocking because you suck at dodgeball. (ahem)... AND....wonderful chance.... EVERYBODY GETS OFF! Ah, geekdom! They've even thrown in an incorrect "Let's" to seal the deal! Rejoice, for your salvation is only a few thousand yen of UFO clawing power away...
Oh! Glorious Temptationing!
(shakes self off...)
So, you see how a well placed "Get off" can make a product so much more desirable to the English consumer.
And then... much like the oft-clutched-at prize, this idea slips between my inept, underpowered mechanical fingers. Assuming that there is a language conspiracy is pretty freaking self-centered.
I honestly feel that marketers simply don't care. They phrase things in ways that they know the Japanese consumer will understand (eg 95% of the market), rather than trying to sneakily con the other 5% (is it even that high?). I don't deny that a few savvy marketers have probably managed to kill those two very different sized birds with a few well placed dirty double entendres, but I have to believe that this is the exception, not the norm.
To boot, my belief in a hyperliterate english-abusing Japanese marketing elite "takes blow" (A!! A!!) every time I teach a lesson on "Phrasal Verbs"
that goes horribly, horribly wrong.
"The other day, I ate out my parents!" (ate out WITH!)
"I came into Masa yesterday" (RAN into!)
Adam Sensei: Come on Keiko! Come on Keiko! Let's go!!!
4 year old Keiko: Come on...me? (GAK!!!)
And... besides.... those UFO prizes are all made in China.
... those guys LOVE a good conspiracy!