A Different World!
A while back, I found myself in the neighborhood of a large Asian market, so I decided I’d stop in. I’d had a craving for lemongrass tea, and the only place I know to find honest-to-goodness lemongrass is at the Asian market.
From the moment you pull in the parking lot, you know you are in a different world. To begin with, about 90% of the parking spaces in this lot are labeled “compact.” What the hell is up with that? Do they assume that because many Asians are small, they must all drive compact cars? You might think that my car would qualify, since I drive a Korean car, a Hyundai Sonata. But alas, not true. My car was definitely far too large for most of the spaces in this lot. So I was forced to drive around until one of the very few “non-compact” spaces opened up.
The “Wrong” Hair Salon….
Just doing this proved to be interesting. To begin with, the business directly next store to the Ranch 99 Asian Market is called the Lazy Day Spa. Now, depending on where you put the accent as you read it, the name of this spa can read two ways. I couldn’t help but picture a comedy skit where someone calls for an appointment, and the 2 Asian ladies working there give some sort of response to the caller, such as, “No, I can’t book a massage for you, I’m feeling verrry razy.” (Asian accent making the pronunciation of lazy turn to “razy”….. “Hey Risa,” (the Asian pronunciation for Lisa….. “You feel like giving massage today?” Upon Lisa’s answer, the caller is told, “Sorry, we are feeling too razy today to give massage, call some other time.” (In case you think I made this up- here is the link I found on Backpage…….. not sure what TYPE of massage you might get here! Buyer beware!)
This particular market is its own sort of mini-mall. In addition to the market, there are a number of stores which line the entry hall. Outside of the market is a sign for one of the shops. A hair salon. A hair salon with a most unfortunate name. The Rong Rong Hair Salon. (Really, you can’t make this shit up!) Again, immediately I picture going to this salon, and my hairstyle, cut or color not exactly coming out as I expected. When asked by a friend who did my hair, my response would be, “The Rong Rong Salon.” I’m sure she would reply, “Duh, that is obvious to see, that’s why I want to know where you went! Can’t you just give me the name of this wrong place you went? Friends don’t let friends get their hair f’d up like yours just did! ”
It seems to me that neither of these businesses really thought out the translation, and what assumptions could be made by their chosen names! A great example of “losing something in the translation.”
Ah, but it doesn’t stop there. Oh no!
When you enter the Asian Market, you feel as though you are transported half way around the world. The smell is DEFINITELY something different than we would ever have in your typical Ralph’s or Von’s…… let’s just call it “pungent”……….. a mix of seafood and strange assorted dried roots, fish and other unidentifiable products, such as we have never seen in our stores.
As you wander through the produce section, there are dozens of fruits and vegetables that are totally unknown in our culture. I wasn’t sure what a number of them were, or what you were supposed to do with them! I do know that one of them, the Duran fruit, is supposed to have such an awful odor that when we were in Thailand, hotels forbade them to be brought into the hotel! (Hmmmmmm maybe this is a small part of the store’s strange odor.
As you wander up and down the aisles, once again, you will find hundreds of items unknown to our culture!
The Asian JonBenet Ramsey
The epitome of the lack of translation came while I was waiting to check out. I seemed to have gotten into the line of the slowest check out person in history. (A special talent I have developed and honed throughout the years.) Since the check out stand is right in front of a major aisle going through the store (a kind of idiotic layout, if I do say myself) I decided to continue the line down the grocery aisle across from the checkout stand. This aisle, as it turned out, is the beauty aisle. Again, products one would never see in a typical “American” grocery store. Since, said slow checker was moving slower than molasses on a cold day, I had a lot of time to peruse this particular aisle. One of the first things I noticed was hair dye, obviously produced in Japan. The pictures on the front of the hair dye were a bit unsettling. The pictures, showing the hair color appeared to be the Japanese version of JonBenet Ramsey. The girl looks to be about 6. REALLY? Are 6 year olds in Japan buying, and using a large amount of hair dye? Is this the effect that Japanese women are trying to achieve by dying their hair- looking like a grade schooler? A bit disconcerting, to say the least.
As I waited, the Asian version of Justin Bieber walked up, with bleached blonde hair which was gelled about 6” above his head. In tow were two teenaged girls, who appeared to be almost like “groupies” giggling and batting their lashes at him. They were, evidently, in pursuit of the hair wax which helped his modified pompadour to perform undefiable feats of magic! Unfortunately, Justin and his entourage had encountered a problem. The problem being, said hair was housed on the top shelf of the hair products, making it a bit over 6 feet from the floor. Making it also, about 18” out of reach of most of the patrons of the store. Tallish Caucasian woman to the rescue! I was able to retrieve the needed item, and send “Justin” and his eye batting fans on their way.
Start Your Morning With A Motivational Mug!
While still waiting for slow-clerk, I glanced to my left, and, being “The Queen” my eye was immediately attracted to something pink, sporting a crown. The lefthand side of this aisle was filled with dishes, such as rice dishes, sushi plates and mugs. What had caught my eyes were a series of mugs, with, ummmmm, “Motivational Sayings???????” on them. I guess my question here on them actually being “motivational sayings”, is that the translation was so poor, in most the cases I wasn’t at all sure what the point of the sayings were.
I proceeded through the line, eventually, and on my way I went. But I couldn’t get these mugs out of my mind. I was having a comedy show a few days later, so I decided these would be a great addition to the show. Down to Claremont Mesa I went, pulled into the lot of Ranch 99, fought for one of the few “non-compact” parking places, strolled into the pungent market, and over to the shelf which held the mugs. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the mugs, which had been PLENTIFUL days before, at least 50 of them in stock originally, were down to just 5 mugs left.
Obviously, whatever the translation is supposed to be made more sense to people who started out speaking a different language than English! Go figure! If you work hard, you can kind of get the gist of what they were attempting to say. But then……… there are a few that will forever remain a mystery. Well, a mystery to me, I guess. They obviously made sense to the people who snapped them up off the store shelves! The last one below, is REALLY the kicker! I can’t for my LIFE figure out what it is supposed to mean. Any guesses?