Posts Tagged ‘Japlish’

NotebookEngrish (1)


I love Japanese notebooks
They always contain Zen-like messages in English.
For instance, a small notebook I found in my drawer last night
States on its cover that,“You can write down anything you want.”
I think I will.

I examine the other notebooks bought at 100-Yen stores
And brought to my new Indiana home.
“This is the most comfortable notebook
You have ever run into,” one states.
“You will feel like writing with it all the time.”
I did.

I also filled the one that had frolicking
Yellow bush hogs on the cover.
“Hey, come together!” they said.
“Let’s all play together.
What kind of play do you like?
Everyone likes playing more than
Anything else. Don’t go far away!
Who is crying? No one can
Keep quiet at all.”
I can’t.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
This writing, called Japlish,
Also appears on T-shirts, store signs,
And almost everything printed in English
In Japan. They often say more than they are meant to.
“SCRIBBLE” another notebook shouts.
“This notebook for scribbling the flash.”
Sounds like writing poetry.

I once asked a Japanese friend
About this fractured English.
She said the Japanese are fascinated
By English. It’s trendy to use
But no one cares about accuracy,
And apparently no native English speaker
Has ever been hired to edit the sayings.

“We wish that your life
Is going to be fabulously enjoyable,”
Another notebook proclaimed.
I used it while sitting at a picnic table
On a beach on the East China Sea.
My life at that moment was certainly
Fabulously enjoyable.

I don’t buy my friend’s description
Of the Japlish found on these covers.
For me, they are some kind of
Warped Zen lessons, their meaning
Akin to the convoluted answers the Masters give
To curious students searching for the truth.

“Let’s enjoy your life,”
One crimson colored notebook suggests.
“Sometimes you can do it only with lovely color.”
Oh yeah, catch that rainbow.
“I’m a favorite of this circus,” another brags.
“I’m very happy in this showtimes.”
I am, too.

The next notebook pulled from the drawer states,
“BE FREE! Let’s get happiness!”
I try, and laugh at the next title,
“For you, I always think of your thing.”
And what is your thing?

The next book answers:
“What can you do on Sunday
If you can ride a cloud?
A slow hour passes while having
A loose wind have been blown.
By the way, please, teach it somewhere.”
I’ll try.

Another book tells me:
“Aiming high is much valuable
Through one’s life.”
Or, as the last book announces,
“We’re having a spell of mind weather.”

And I don’t mind.

By David Allen

Like my poetry? Then buy my book, “The Story So Far,” published by Writers Ink Press, Long Island, N.Y. You can find it on ( in paperback and Kindle formats, or by sending me $10 at:

David Allen
803 Avalon Lane
Chesterfield, IN 46017