What were they thinking when they named these products?

TOKYO —

Every foreign visitor to Japan has experienced it at some point: you’re walking through a convenience store when you catch a glimpse of a product with an outrageous name that you just have to take a picture of.

User yt0648 over at Japanese list-sharing site Naver Matome has put together a list of 10 Japanese product names that turn foreigners’ heads. 

1. Petit Bit

These little chocolate squares can be misinterpreted as “tiny penis,” apparently.

2. Mos Burger

The name is actually an acronym of mountain, ocean and sun, but those unfamiliar with this popular Japanese burger chain may think of the moss plant first.

3. White Water For Men

There’s a lot going on in the name of this low-calorie yogurt-flavored water, but I’m just glad they didn’t make the mistake of using “by” or “of” instead of “for.”

4. Pocari Sweat

Perhaps the most well known product on the list since you can find this electrolyte-recharging sports drink in just about any vending machine in the country. It begs the question: “Who is Pocari, and why must we drink his sweat?”

5. Asse

Chocolate ass bars, what else is there to say?

6. Creap Creamy Powder

Even though it’s pronounced “creep,” this creamy powder is used for sweetening coffee, not for warding off disgusting guys trying to get your number.

7. Men’s Fudge

Oh myyyy…

8. Cream Collon

Contrary to what you might think, these tasty little cream puffs contain no traces of human intestine. “Collon” is actually a non-standard romanization derived from the Japanese onomatopoeia “korokoro,” which described something small and round rolling over.

9. Calpis

You might need to say it out loud to get it, but here’s a hint: bovine urine.

10. Crunky Nude Balls

American rapper Lil Jon’s nude balls of choice.

And that’s the list! Have you anything to add from your travels to the land of unfortunately-named products? Share them in the comments below.

Source: Naver Matome

RocketNews24

  • 2

    paulinusa

    NO ONE will ever figure out what they were thinking and I'll bet explanations by the Japanese companies wouldn't make much sense to most foreigners(and maybe some Japanese for that matter).

  • 6

    commanteer

    Lemme guess...uhmmm... they were thinking in Japanese? The names may be funny in English, but the products were not made for an English speaking market. Lots of names in English speaking countries sound funny in other languages too. Who cares? The article itself is fine, but the headline of "what were they thinking" could only be written by someone who thinks his home country is the center of the universe. Sorry, but not not everybody speaks or even cares to speak English. What was the headline writer thinking?

  • 8

    Voodoo_People

    Nothing new. And, I am very surprised at the extremely delayed posting of this sort of story.

    There has been a website since 1996 that has all this sort of funny information from Japan, China, and other nations. ****www.engrish.com

    PS: Calpis is not a product. It is the name of a company. Calpis Water or Calpis Soda are the products.

  • -2

    cleo

    commanteer is right. Laughing at names in a foreign language that sound funny in your own is a bit puerile.

    You don't see Japanese tourists laughing and taking pictures of say, the hand-cream Atrixo, though the name is hilarious from a Japanese point of view.

    And wasn't Rolls Royce once forced to change the name of a major line of cars after they realised they'd named it 'manure' in German?

  • 6

    GyGene

    I love the names! Japan, please do not change a thing - it make life more fun!

    A friend told me that many years ago his daughter who was raised in Japan was hired by some company to help with naming products. They had come up with a new chewing gum and had chosen the name, "Kick Gut". She told them, NO, do not use that name! She messed up. I love that name! Think about it, now I will never be able to buy Kick Gut chewing gum - and I tell you, I surely would buy it!

  • 1

    CopRamen

    Hi Cleo That was Toyota with the famous MR2 or "mrdeux" in France..

  • 0

    nikkeiboy

    Calpis is acutally called Calpico in the U.S. I guess they figured that one out. But sometimes I wonder if they really know what they are doing. The product is dairy based.

  • 3

    paulinusa

    I agree with pamelot. OK, they're "thinking in Japanese" for the Japanese market and don't give a damn what foreigners think . But what's the reasoning behind the english names? What is the basis of their decision making? The names they arrive at have to suggest something that resonates with the Japanese consumer. According to Wikipedia, Calpis is a "portmanteau" word which combines elements of two words: "cal" from calcium and pis from Sansk

  • 0

    paulinusa

    continued: Sanskrit "sarpis" which means butter flavor. Do the Japanese people make that connection?

  • 3

    sensei258

    How about a milk coffee drink called "depresso" (decaffeinated espresso and milk), sold at (now) Lawson 100? I wasn't sure if I was supposed to drink it because of, or to become depressed

  • 0

    cleo

    That was Toyota with the famous MR2 or "mrdeux" in France..

    No, it was Rolls Royce. They renamed the Silver Mist the Silver Shadow because mist means manure in German.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-RoyceSilverShadow

  • 0

    herefornow

    OK, they're "thinking in Japanese" for the Japanese market and don't give a damn what foreigners think . But what's the reasoning behind the english names? What is the basis of their decision making?

    paulinusa -- exactly. There's a huge disconnect here. If they are "thinking in Japanese", why not name them in Japanese? Why use horrible English? Unless it is recognizing the fact that Japanese seem to have a penchant for butchering English, as well as seveal other languages, for their own purposes.

  • 2

    FightingViking

    @Cleo

    Well "CopRamen" is also right, so that make two "misnomers":

    Toyota "MR2" pronounced in French means the word (supposedly uttered by General Cambronne, 18th June 1815, at the battle of Waterloo) and it does mean "excrement".

  • 1

    bass4funk

    I agree with Pamelot as well. I don't think it's a problem what name the use, but it it's a western style, they should at least research the name and meaning bedsore using it and or at least get the spelling down. But sometimes it seems to me that Japanese just randomly come up with a name that just doesn't roll off the tongue well like "3CAN4ON" it can be confusing at times.

    @here

    If they are "thinking in Japanese", why not name them in Japanese? Why use horrible English? Unless it is recognizing the fact that Japanese seem to have a penchant for butchering English, as well as seveal other languages, for their own purposes.

    I agree.

  • 2

    CopRamen

    Opel Signum and Corsa was great too. Being from Denmark I didn't even know about the Silver Mist. Thanks for that.

  • 3

    WilliB

    CopRamen:

    " Being from Denmark I didn't even know about the Silver Mist. "

    Being from Denmark, you might wonder why elevators in your country show the sign "I Fart" when moving. Following the logic of this article, what were Danish elevator technicians thinking...

  • 3

    hameln

    The best beer by name is Young's dirty dicks. And it IS from England.

  • 2

    Chandra Lindmark

    fighting viking you have to explain for CopRamen that Fart in Dennish is "speed" and not anything else.

  • 0

    doedel

    As seen on TV, "Health products" named "Placenta"?

  • 0

    Cos

    Sounds always better that "Nike".

  • -5

    BertieWooster

    As seen on TV, "Health products" named "Placenta"?

    Because that's what it's made of.

    I doubt that sales would be very good if they used the Japanese word.

    I think it's supposed to stop wrinkles.

  • -1

    BertieWooster

    One of the best was a new pantyhose put out by Wacoal.

    At that time, "City" was a buzz word. "Honda City," etc.

    So, some bright spark called the pantyhose "City Pants."

    This doesn't look too bad, but the TV commercial used strict katakana pronunciation.

    "Shi-tee Pan-tsu."

    It was hilarious, but it was only on for a day or so.

    I guess someone got the chop!

  • 0

    FightingViking

    Chandra LindmarkAug. 25, 2012 - 03:02PM JST fighting viking you have to explain for CopRamen that Fart in Dennish is "speed" and not anything else

    .

    I think you got the wrong person... In spite of my Danish origin, I didn't reply to that remark... I referred to the famous word pronounced (supposedly by General Cambronne) having a Toyota car "named" after it : the MR2 (word which is also used to wish someone "good luck").

  • 4

    lucabrasi

    @herefornow

    Japanese seem to have a penchant for butchering English, as well as several other languages, for their own purposes.

    No more than English speakers have "butchered" Latin, Greek, German, French, Danish and many, many others for their own purposes.

  • 0

    gokai_wo_maneku

    If I recall correctly, "Calpis" means "cup" in classical Greek. But it also means "urn", which is full of bones.

  • 0

    FightingViking

    "Calpis" means "cup" in classical Greek. But it also means "urn",

    I could be wrong but I thought that was "calice" (it is in French anyway !)

  • 3

    Farmboy

    Chevy Nova didn't do so well in Spanish-speaking countries, I hear. No va = It doesn't go Crunky Nude Balls...okay, I admit it... I bought about twenty of these to give to friends for omiyage. Everyone was happy with their balls, but I did get a strange look from the salesclerk.

  • 1

    electric2004

    In Germany, there is a famous car race track, called Avus (in Berlin).

    There was a maker of leather steering wheel covers, who called his product Avus.

    Then a Chinese company started to copy the product and slightly changed the name to Anus.

    Seems, it did not sell.

  • 2

    Matthew Simon

    Though I agree the yes they were thinking like Japanese. But if you are going to make a title or name of something in English or and language a little bit of quality control may be a good idea. Personally I think these types names are part of the charm of the country.

  • 0

    GW

    You don't see Japanese tourists laughing and taking pictures of say, the hand-cream Atrixo, though the name is hilarious from a Japanese point of view

    Cleo,

    Oh are you sure my mrs has bought books full of photos taken around the world by J-tourists because of how they sound in Japanese, surely you have come across some!

  • 0

    GW

    My fav that never made it out in public was by fujitsu who was using woody the wood pecker as their advirtising mascot for laptops a number of yrs back............ apparently it was caught just before it was released to us........

    Apparenty they almost went with: Touch Woody the Internet Pecker!

    aghhh but we have had & will have more so cant complain I suppose

  • 2

    ojiiu812badboy

    This article is full of laughs and your posts very informative. Car name that tops the list is Mazda's "La Puta." I'll probably get censored if I translated it.. Unbelievable!

  • 4

    Weasel

    I suppose the follow-up article to this would be the incorrect Kanji tattoos and T-shirts worn by Westerners?

  • 4

    ACrowe

    I always liked the Mitsubishi Pajero and Pajero Mini, which means "jerk off" in Spanish.

  • 0

    Hatsumi Fukunaga

    Asahi slat (sounds like slut), G-taste shochu, naive body soap, the list goes on and on... I like it and it is funny. Thinking about it too seriously is not good, everyone makes mistakes and have things they didn't know.

  • 0

    Wolfpack

    “Who is Pocari, and why must we drink his sweat?”

    I love Pocari Sweat and I have always chosen to think of Pocari as being a woman - thank you very much.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    "The name is actually an acronym of mountain, ocean and sun,"

    I thought MOS was an acronym of 'Mountain, Ocean, and Sky', not sun, but oh well.

    Cleo: I agree that laughing at another language that sounds funny in your own is puerile, but the problem is they are not using their own language in most cases, and these are not even the most outrageous examples. I mean, is "nude balls" Japanese? What about the old Blendy coffee canister with the picture of naked (well, a towel trailing him) little boy that says, "It's fun to drink coffee naked with your family"? Can we not laugh at that? At least in that case it's grammatically correct.

  • 3

    mitoguitarman

    Why assume all Romaji words are supposed to be Englsh? A couple other languages use Romaji, including 日本語.

  • 2

    Mike Walker

    The Mitsubishi Pajero had to be renamed the Misubishi Shogun in many Spanish speaking countries due to the translation of pajero as hand relief in Spanish.Drivers did not want to drive a Mitsubishi W#####r!!!!

  • 0

    presto345

    This article is full of laughs and your posts very informative. Car name that tops the list is Mazda's "La Puta." I'll probably get censored if I translated it.. Unbelievable!

    My friend and I had a big laugh when driving behind one and I explained it to her. Actually it is Laputa!

  • 1

    Ronald F Stark

    They forgot the ever-popular "homo sausage" that almost every convenience store used to stock! Haven't seen them in awhile though, maybe somebody finally got it?

  • -1

    presto345

    Toyota sold a vehicle in its domestic market named OPA. Did they name the car after a rock group, or meaning 'grandfather' in German and Dutch? I doubt they named it after the Anglican Order of Preachers (Ordo Praedicatorum Anglicanus).

  • 1

    CopRamen

    Last week I saw a drug store in Shizuoka named "Happy Drug Life".. :) WilliB: made me laugh! Must admit havent seen that back home, but havent been home for a few years now.

  • 1

    CopRamen

    Also very interesting; i have seen several coin-laundrys in Japan using the danish word for coin-laundry "Møntvask".

  • 0

    Serrano

    Are the Crunky Nude Balls any good?

  • 0

    FightingViking

    Are the Crunky Nude Balls any good?

    Interesting question... (I have NO idea...)

  • 0

    tamanegi

    English is merely a decoration in every aspect in this country, Japan is utterly hopeless with it.

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