Yes Sir, I Can Boogie… I Mean English, I Can English!

A few months ago, right back at the start of this blog, way back on Blogger, I promised I would grab some snaps of the hilarious “English” on some products, notepads, and buildings around Busan. Now, I think it’s time to make good on this promise.

do you feel lovelyFirst up I’ve got this lovely notebook from my student Brian. Now I know the English isn’t actually bad on this one, but the misquote in order to avoid copyright laws just cracks me up every time I see this notebook. Some of you readers may have seen this months ago on my Instagram feed, but who doesn’t love a re-post? Sadly, little Brian has finished this one and no longer do I get to answer “Yes, I do feel lovely, PUNK” to his notebook… On second thoughts perhaps it’s better I don’t have questions to answer to notebooks, that’s just lunacy.

For a couple of weeks I snickered every time I looked at the front cover of a notebook as many of them have such bizarre writing on them. It can be anything, from misquoted Disney songs/characters/movies/anything really to random information about a color or a random place in the English-speaking world. I swear I once saw a notebook with a passage about Manchester City and it’s great mining history, missing however, was any mention of Maggie Thatcher.

I wasn’t laughing for long though, because I then noticed that my own notebook has some nonsense writing about the healing properties of mint. I can’t say that the odd passage doesn’t give me a smile now and then, I do struggle to admit to myself that I bought something with misplaced English on it though.

English mint

“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.” This notebook on the right attempts to explain why my students seem to learn next to nothing day-in day-out: it’s just their spoiled memories from having been forced to study. Seems legit.

lotteriaFinally, we’re onto the big guns: the businesses.

It seems next to impossible that a big corporation would struggle to find even one person to cast their eyes over the English to make sure all of the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, or you know, that the I should, in fact, be an E… “Injoy Lotteria”. I’m not sure I could “injoy” their food, not just because of the sub-par, often undercooked, chicken burgers, but because I’m not entirely sure how one goes about injoying anything!

Lotteria isn’t even some bumbling grandfather’s restaurant, it’s part of the massive Japanese conglomerate LOTTE who produce almost everything one could possibly dream of… only with slightly worse spelling and grammar. Their bizarre take on English does not end with this chain however, oh no siree! The LOTTE Corporation’s coffee chain Angel-in-Us (I won’t even start on the name of this one) also have a penchant for asinine scrawling on the walls. Although, admittedly I do love the coffee and sandwiches here so I cannot complain too much I guess!


“At here”? Really? No one raised a hand in the business meeting on that one? Maybe they were too busy fiddling about with their “angel-like soul”.

Over all, English is everywhere here, often out of context, and even out of correct usage. It serves for a good giggle while sipping our over-priced vanilla lattés in some café or other. I’m sure I have missed out the funniest examples as I’m not quite so fast with the camera as others, but I will endeavor to post more once I have managed to snap some pics of some of the clothing as that can be even more comical than a lovely punk.

**DISCLAIMER**: I’ve been informed that the “Injoy Lotteria” is, in fact, a pun on “enjoy” and “in here”. I remain unconvinced, but alas there you have it!


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