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Signese

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About this blog

Entries in this blog

skylee

Istanbul 伊斯坦堡

I took these pictures yesterday. The first one is of the door of the metro I took to get to Kanyon Mall at Levant, Istanbul. I took it because I thought a Chinese character was used in the design. However, having stared at the pattern long enough I found that it was not. You can try to identify the differences (from the Chinese character I had thought it was).

The second one is a sign at a Chinese/Japanese restaurant near the cinema of the mall. I found it strikingly ugly.

roddy

Not So Simple

A couple of uncommon characters for you today, although you never know when you might need them - and if you happen to have the chance to casually show off your knowledge to amazed friends sometime, all the better.

This one could be a little tricky to track down, but can anyone figure out what they might find if they were to lift up this manhole cover from inside the Forbidden City?

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And while we're at it, which character in the second photo might your teacher instruct you to correct?

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You can use the spoiler tags

[spoiler] text here [/spoiler]

to hide your answers if you want.

text here

skylee

Graffiti

I took this picture today. It was the back of the seat in front of mine in a van. If you like, you could try to figure out -

A. Who the writer was unhappy about, and

B. Who in particular, and

C. Why.

skylee

From Lyon

I took this photo in Lyon a couple of days ago. If you are interested, you can try to find out the following -

1. What is written on the big character? How are the small characters arranged?

2. What characters (traditional / simplified) are used on the poster?

Side story about a scam - outside the Cathedral Notre Dame in Lyon, different young people asked me to sign on a form with a big UNICEF heading. They did not speak to me, but just held up that signature form to my face. It appeared that they were asking for support for the cause of UNICEF. But then I noticed that their fingers covered the last column of the form, which was for the signers to write down the amount of money they would give. If that was legitimate they would not need to play such a trick. I had been fooled by this trick once many years ago in Paris.

roddy

Sale! Sale! Sale!

I quite like this poster for the sheer enthusiasm of it, but couldn't really come up with any questions. Except perhaps for 'Is there absolutely definitely a sale on?', to which the correct answer would be 'Oh yes, there's no doubt that there's a sale on and it shall be ending shortly so buy now!'

So your task here is to navigate the cursive, deal with the changes of direction, and don't get too frustrated with the crossings-out in order to provide us with a complete transcription of the bright yellow poster and its smaller friend.

Flying Pigeon

Note to the Neighbors

Technically it's not a sign, but it was taped on the wall in the hallway near my neighbor's door.

The story goes something like this: Neighbor A wrote Neighbor B a note and taped it on their door . . .

1. What is Neighbor A asking Neighbor B to do?

2. What is Neighbor A and his/her family doing at the time the note was written?

roddy

Supermarket Measures

Now I know you've all been looking forward to this supermarket advert, recently featured on seat backs on the 113 bus during the month of June. Unfortunately the promotions advertised have now ended, so don't go rushing down to Carrefour demanding your goodies - but no need to be disappointed, we're going to have just as much fun as cheap toilet paper right here:

1) How many measure words can you find

2) Match each measure word up to a noun. Or object. Or something. You know what I mean.

3) You need to buy ballast for your hot air balloon. Which is cheaper, yogurt or toilet paper.

Anyone who can think of better questions can add them in the comments.

jbradfor

YACTS

Yet Another Chinese Toilet Sign.

Easy question:

1) What is the Chinese name for the invention that would eliminate the need for this sign?

skylee

Osama Bin Laden

This is rare, in this age of telecommunications where people receive news on their cell phones, computers or on TV/radio almost instantly. I got this at about 4PM today whereas the announcement was made at 11AM (Beijing time). So it had taken about five hours for this news to reach me. Not too bad for paper medium.

The last time I saw such a thing I was in Tokyo. That day a man stabbed many people dead in Akihabara, thus the paper.

So what is this piece of paper called?

In it there is a term which is seldom used nowadays - 伏法. What does it mean?

I used an envelope to cover a gruesome picture.

xiaocai

Signs taken at hometown

Now enjoying my 1 month break back to where I grew up, there are some pictures that I would like to share. Many things have changed, but sadly, some of those which need changes desperately may have not. I was surprised to see signs like what I took in the first picture (file 001.jpg) through out my trip. Hopefully I will see much less of this kind in the future. Well, question time:

1: What kind of message the first sign is trying to convey?

2: Can you think of one 成语 or 四字俗语 which is related to this sign?

To relax a bit after the somewhat heavy topic, please take a look at the second sign (file 002.jpg), and try to answer these simple questions:

1: I can think of at least two ways to interpret the sign, how about you?

2: There is a joke related to this sign, can you find it?

roddy

The Return to Kiroran

With that spirit of sacrifice common to all members here at Chinese-forums.com, @DrWatson has provided us with pictures of the menu at Kiroran. Our correspondent writes:

 

Quote

 

I most definitely snapped a photo of the menu as well, that was the primary purpose of taking the photos, and it was only then I thought of Signese. Sorry...my stomach thinks before my brain sometimes!

 

Any thoughts on the menu, any of these dishes worth trying? The prices are a bit high, but I am guessing for some of those dishes they are meant to be shared in a group.  I thought the 麻辣鸡 and the Loulan Spicy pot looked good, also I'm always up for hot pot, unfortunately the hot pot menu was not posed on the shop window.

 

I am more hesitant about the noodle dishes though, I don't know why but it looks like Spaghetti in some of the photos, but hopefully it is actually pulled noodles...

 

 

葱爆羊肉 for me. What's everyone else having?

 

kiroran1.jpgkiroran2.jpg

jbradfor

One Child Policy

Since we haven't had a (proper *cough* *cough*) posing in a while, I think I would add this one from a while back.

Just one question: does one still see such signs?

roddy

Recharger

My first reaction to this sign (which is on a machine that lets you put money on your Seoul subway card, no transfer of electricity is involved) is that it was a mistranslation. But then I thought maybe it's a normal usage that I don't know about, perhaps in Japanese?

Investigate!

abcdefg

Toilet instructions

One sees this sign, usually only in Chinese, in the male toilets of lots of public places. The English translation here is particularly lame.

 

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roddy

Chalk Handwriting

This is a hand-writing chalked advert for a more or less medical service - how many different ailments and diseases can you identify, and which part of the body are they associated with. Good luck though, there are parts of this one I've given up on figuring out . . .

skylee

垃圾暨廢物

I am not going to attach a picture to this post. The main reason is that I don't have one. But please keep reading.

This all happened in Hong Kong. Yesterday a friend wrote to me, telling me that he had seen a rubbish bin labelled 垃圾暨廢物回收箱. He then asked me jokingly what the difference between 垃圾 and 廢物 was.

Now don't use google / baidu yet. Try to (1) think of a difference between 垃圾 and 廢物, however unreasonable.

I managed to first come up with an imagined difference (it was racist so I am not going to repeat it here), and then find the real one.

Now you may use google and / or baidu and (2) find out what the real difference is.

Then another friend joined the discussion and she tried to find a better name for the rubbish bin. Why don't you also (3) suggest a better name for this poor laughing-stock-rubbish-bin?

When you explore this issue, you will come across an article titled "垃圾暨廢物" written by famous lyricist 林夕. Do take a look. It is quite funny. And then consider how you would handle the word "暨" (suggest you take care of this under item (3)).

By now you should have found a picture of this rubbish bin. If you have not, use the link below. Have fun. :P

xiaocai

Sign taken at...

Alright, these questions can be quite hard I think, but everyone is welcome to attempt.

1. Where (PLACE NAME, better make it clear first this time) do you think this picture was taken at?

2. What is written on the sign? (I do NOT have answer to this question, because I have no idea what it means, either. Maybe it is just not Chinese altogether. It will be much appreciated if anyone can identify the message and share it with me and other forum member.)

roddy

Bus Stop Scam

It's quite common to see adverts offering various illegal services and opportunities to be scammed plastered on bus stops and elsewhere around the city. They get taken down fairly regularly, but put back up just as soon.

Common examples are offers to provide various types of certification (ID cards, degree certificates, whatever) or high paying work in hotels and karaoke joints. The end result no doubt varies, but you can probably expect to end up poorer, and quite possibly a sex worker.

This particular version is new to me, so obviously I took a photo and scampered home to phone Li Xiang's lawyers put up a blog post about it.

1) Who is Li Xiang married to, and where does she reside?

2) What situation does she wish to avoid?

3) And to this end she is looking to find a man to do what with? Will this take place in Hong Kong, or elsewhere?

4) What do you think will end up happening to the unwitting victim, who to be honest probably deserves everything he gets.

skylee

Tram

You know where this place is, don't you?

When I first saw this tram I was quite surprised as the Chinese name was right on the first car. It took me a few attempts to take this picture, as I guess there is only one like this and I am not the kind who has a camera in hand ready to take pictures all the time. As far as I know there are different Chinese versions of the city's name. But if this name is good enough for the city it is good enough for me. (But I can't explain why I feel differently about Seoul's Chinese name.)

An irrelevant question - why do Asian (Japanese, Hong Kong, Taiwan) young people (or younger people) like to take pictures of the food they order with sophisticated big cameras in restaurants? Is it just to show off their cameras?

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