The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
Big Fat Whale  |  Failure  |  Hoopleville  |  Idiot Box  |  Lifestyle Features  |  Reality Check

Dice-k Dictionary

Translating the sudden explosion of Japanese signs in the Fenway
By MIKE MILIARD  |  May 16, 2007

Not only did the Red Sox’ signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka bolster Boston’s starting rotation, it also spawned a burgeoning industry in Japanese signage around Fenway Park. Problem is, unless you’re visiting from Osaka or spend way too much time reading manga, you probably have no idea what the signs say.

East-West transliterations have long led to cross-cultural hilarity. (If you haven’t been to yet, go there — but not till you’ve finished reading this.) As such, we figured there was a good probability that Bostonians had mangled the Japanese language, too. So we enlisted the help of Momo Shinzawa, a fine-art photographer from Tokyo, to help us decode some of the signs near Yawkey Way.

Shinzawa, incidentally, is no novice when it comes to spotting mistranslations. “A long time ago, I went to Revere Beach and I saw this super white trashy guy with mullet,” she reports. This man had a tattoo on his arm. It read “Brown Rice.” Shinzawa suspects he meant it to say “American Troop” or “American Army Solider.” She explains that, when the Japanese describe America or Americans, they use the Chinese character for rice: “If we see it right front of name or places, etc.,” she writes in an e-mail, “we know that person or place is America related.” But this guy’s tattoo artist apparently didn’t know the right word for “Army.”

“He looked very tough and seemed really proud of what he got on his arm, but ‘Brown Rice?’ Maybe he is vegan or something, but I doubt it.”

The following, via e-mail, are Shinzawa’s translations — and her verdicts.


“ ‘The Best Sausage Co.’ Words in Japanese are technically correct. However, the font is very odd shape. I can tell non-Japanese speaker try to copy someone’s writing to make it looks like Japanese. It is very non-native writing.”


“This sign is actually just fine. Very official and nicely done. It says ‘DICE-K Welcome to Boston. Mayor Thomas Menino, Boston Resident.’ ”


“It says ‘Welcome’ in Japanese. Yes, it pronounce like ‘Yo Koso,’ but the correct writing is ‘Youkoso.’ ”


“This one is also okay. I feel like some ads agency created. Fonts are very good and grammar is also make sense to me. It says ‘Welcome to Game on! Boston’s first class sports bar.’ ”


“It says their restaurant name. That’s it. I think this is fine. Just kind of boring.”


“Oh, this is really good one! The first three letters says ‘Red Sox’ (literately means ‘Red color sox’) which is kind of okay, but everybody knows Red Sox as Red Sox. You know what I mean? We pronounce and used the name of the team just like Bostonian, so this is kind of funny. On top of it, I think they try to say “Red Sox Fans” but, the last two letters literately means ‘an army corps,’ not ‘fan.’ I can see this sign was made by someone who speak Chinese, maybe? Who can not write [Japanese characters] Hiragana and katakana. When we use foreign words, we use Katakana. So the word ‘Red Sox’ or ‘fan’ should be all Katakana, not in Chinese letters. So this is my suspicious. Yeah, it is kind of No, No to call Japanese ‘An Army corps of red color sox?!’ Since [the Japanese were] Americans enemies long time ago!? I found this sign kind of funny! If Japanese see it, they can understand what they are trying to say. It is almost there, but not right Japanese.”

On the Web
Mike Miliad's Sox Blog: //

Related: Brains, balls, and a key to Fenway, Wild and Crispy, Ticket shock, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , AL East Division, American League (Baseball), Baseball,  More more >
  • Share:
  • RSS feed Rss
  • Email this article to a friend Email
  • Print this article Print
Dice-k Dictionary
I've seen the "赤靴下軍団" before, my take is that its a tongue-in-cheek, JAPANESE translation of "Red Sox". This Momo Shinzawa must not be a fan of baseball, since "軍" (perhaps short for "軍団") in Japanese baseball-lingo refers to "team". The Red Sox team in Japanese sports newspapers is commonly referred to as "レ軍", short for "レッドソックス軍"。A recent headline is "レ軍-ヤ軍は中止", or "Red Sox vs Yankees Cancelled". PS - One thing about "Best Sausage Co" - like Ms. Shinzawa said, the font is strange, and the translation technically correct. However, its a very direct translation and quite odd. It reads more like "Company of sausages that are the best." wzupmofo @ Yokohama
By wzupmofo on 05/22/2007 at 10:02:47

Share this entry with Delicious
  •   DRAWN TOGETHER  |  June 03, 2009
    Comic Koffeeklatsch
  •   LEGALIZE POT NOW  |  June 01, 2009
    With support from the unlikeliest circles, this could be marijuana's moment
  •   IMMACULATE RECEPTION  |  May 13, 2009
    The New England Patriots played host to a very different out-of-towner last week, as the Dalai Lama made a most incongruous visit to Gillette Stadium
  •   GOOD DIRT  |  May 06, 2009
    Davy Rothbart of Found magazine reads from Requiem on Saturday night at Precinct in Union Square
  •   LUIS'S LOST YEARS  |  April 22, 2009
    After five decades of exile, Red Sox great Luis Tiant journeys back to Cuba

 See all articles by: MIKE MILIARD

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2009 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group