There are some Japanese words that, no matter how many textbooks you read, you’ll simply never encounter. As we’ve seen, the Japanese love a good pun, and cheesy wordplay on TV and the media in general is far more commonplace than it is in English. So it’s surprising that the owners of this Tokyo-based computer school didn’t choose the name of their establishment – and the wording on their sign, for that matter – a little more carefully.
If you can already see why so many Japanese netizens are chuckling, then congratulations – you’re clearly a Japanese slang master. The rest of you? We’ll see you after the jump.
You’ll likely notice that most of the characters displayed on this sign, which was shared online earlier this week by a Japanese net user, are written in katakana, the script reserved for foreign names, loan words, and so on. Words like “pasokon” may make very little sense to English speakers, but believe it or not they’re actually based on their language, albeit in the shortened form, with this particular noun coming from PERrSOnal COMputer.
You’ll also notice that the company whose sign is pictured above has opted to present itself as a “sukuuru” (school) rather than a gakkou (school) or kyoushitsu (lit. teaching room), probably because such foreign loan words are considered more youthful and vibrant. But that’s not what’s funny here.
No, the reason netizens are laughing at this unfortunate computer school’s sign is because it reads like it’s advertising sex for money, or at least intercourse coaching of some kind.
Let’s take another look at what’s written on that sign, shall we?
Or, in Roman characters:
Kanzen kojin shidou no man tsuu man ressun
And in English:
100% one-to-one lessons
If you’re still confused and starting to think your Japanese textbooks or teachers have let you down, worry not — there are native Japanese who are equally in the dark, as exhibited by this excerpt from a Yahoo! Answers-style Q&A website, Oshiete! goo:
“What does ‘pakoru’ mean?” asks curious user hidehidebo. “Could this just be a typo on ‘pakuru’ (to copy/rip off)? It was written in an email I got saying, ‘OK, let’s pakoru together!’ What does this mean?”
Well, the good news for Hidehidbo here is that there were a few kind souls willing to help and explain the word. The bad news is that he may want to think about the kind of company he keeps. You see, pakoru actually means “have sex“, or, in more common vernacular, to “screw“.
So, in the case of poor old “Pakoland” here, as far as crude-minded Japanese are concerned, the owners might as well have called the place “Screw Land”, followed by the tagline “Every one of our sessions is one-to-one!” Oh dear.
There you have it, guys and girls, yet another string to add to your Japanese language bow. Use it wisely, and be extremely careful when typing the word “pakuru” – that ‘U’ key is awfully close to the ‘O’…