Unlike the creature it features, the above image has been floating around online for a few years, but recently has returned back to Japanese shores. However, here such a situation has led to a decidedly punnier outcome. Let’s read what Japanese people have to say about it and maybe learn a little unusual Japanese along the way.
The picture shows a rather large cephalopod lying out in a compact car space of a parking lot. Due to the size of the creature and general absurdness of it, many have cried hoax and Photoshop. However, it appears to be the real thing, and the parking lot and tea bottle were probably just used to give a sense of scale.
In English, “squid” is a rather clumsy name for the animal and doesn’t really lend itself to wordplay. But the much simpler Japanese name of ika opens the door to more opportunities, such as:
This word can be used to describe an unfortunate situation kind of like saying “That’s a shame.” It could be used in situations such as someone accidentally sitting on a birthday cake or when a person leaves a perfectly good squid sitting out in a parking lot. As such many netizens felt right to comment, “Sora ikan www.” (“That’s a shame lol”) or in the voice of the squid “Makotoni ikan de aru.” (Well this is most regrettable.)
This word was used in the headline for this picture by Japanese website Byokan Sunday which read, “Kore ha ikasu!” (This is cool!). Depending on the kanji, however, ikasu could also mean to utilize something or take advantage of something much like one might do with a huge squid to reserve a parking space.
This one’s actually more English than Japanese. Just say it quickly out loud to yourself and you should hear something like “my car.” Perhaps to add another dimension it could sound like “my ika” as well.
This appears to be an extension of maika, and reading aloud you might think it’s meant to say Jamaica, actually it’s Jama ika or “obstacle squid.”
I just made this one up myself so it’s kind of lame. Suika is the word for watermelon but if you combine sui which is one reading of the kanji for water (水) and ka as in maika, then you have “water car” which might explain the events leading up to this photo.
There are surely more ways to incorporate the letters ika into a witty comment regarding this photo. If you have any ideas let us know. Heck, even in English the configuration of i-k-a could get used.