Why スパプー and not スパプール?

I was reading about onsen, just browning down the rabbit hole and trying to read some Japanese. I came across the page of https://www.spaworld.co.jp where I saw the children’s pool is called スパプー, not プール. Why would that be? I’m just trying to understand if it’s a joke? Kids think poo is hilarious, let’s make it a pun? Or a reference to Winnie the Pooh? I know it’s not important, it just bothers me that I don’t get it :slight_smile:

They also have a water slide called Panic Tornado, interesting place…


I think it’s something akin to why computer is コンピューター and not コンピュータル. The final consonant doesn’t seem prominent enough to be preserved, and there’s nothing else for the word to be confused with in Japanese. The list of events on their website seems to refer to the スパプー as one of the venues as well, so I doubt it’s meant as a joke or anything humorously rude. As for other possible references… I don’t know about Winnie the Pooh, but ‘poo’ in Japanese is pretty well established: うんこ. I don’t think kids would joke about it as プー: Misa from Japanese Ammo with Misa said she used to embarrass her mother on public buses as a child by saying うんこ中 (pitch starts high and goes down) instead of 運行中 (うんこうちゅう – pitch starts low and goes up).

I think it’s another case of using English words to sound more fun/fashionable or just to stand out, like how stereotypical theme parks in almost any anime have ランド (’-land’) or ワールド (’-world’) in their names. Plus, ‘Panic’ probably doesn’t sound as scary as a loanword, whereas something like 恐怖 would sound like… abject terror.



I see you’re already fully … immersed in the matter yuck


When compound words are made out of two English loan words in Japanese, one or both of them tend to get shortened. You can see this in things like エンスト, which is a wasei eigo term that comes from the words “engine” and “stall”, which are エンジン and ストール. I think this is just a case where スパ was already two syllables so they just shortened プール.


I’m pretty sure that’s not it. The /r/ in computer is cut off because it’s a final /r/ sound, that’s just the rule for loanwords with /r/ sounds at the end of a syllable. But Japanese doesn’t just drop all final consonants. Usually /l/ sounds are preserved, as it is in the actual word プール. I don’t know why this place would shorten the word, but I’m fairly confident it’s an intentional choice by the company, not a language thing.
(Excepting when words are shortened/combined, I don’t know much about that).


I’m aware that it’s not a standard thing to do with an L, whereas with an R, dropping is common. I meant to suggest that the logic behind it might be similar, even if it’s not usually done for individual words. I mean, you can still roughly tell that it’s ‘pool’. Anyway, since I can see nothing positive in Japanese associated with プー, I think it might be this:

MMORPGs are also called ‘network games’ (at least in Japan), and that got shorted to ネトゲ. I can’t think of another abbreviation that ends in a vowel right now, but if we try to do the same thing with ‘spa pool’ and shorten it to three syllables, スパプー is fairly natural, I think? Just stopping at プ might result in people saying ‘spap’, so I think a long final vowel was necessary.

When abbreviating two words, Japanese tends to combine the first two kana or sounds of each word into one. For example, パーソナルコンピューター becomes パソコン. ワードプロセッサ becomes ワープロ. Et cetera.

What? No, that’s not even slightly correct. “Computer” doesn’t sound anything like “konpyuutaru”. It sounds like “konpyuutaa”. It’s not about preserving consonants, it’s about preserving sounds.

Meanwhile, “pool” is usually プール - the ル has just been omitted in this specific instance.


I guess you can indeed suggest that, but personally I don’t think the evidence supports the assumption that final consonants aren’t important enough to be preserved. I’m not an expert in Japanese linguistics though, so I could be wrong.

I just don’t think that’s a thing you can do; seems like an over-generalization. I don’t think スパプー sounds natural, but we’d really need a native Japanese speaker to determine that.

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I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to your question but I’m pretty sure it’s not a joke. Most kids (or really people in general) wouldn’t know that poo is English for poop. Also, poop and public pools together is a major no-no.

But if you are ever in Osaka, I recommend you try out Spa World. It’s a fine example the traditional Osaka culture of making things flashy. I felt like it was in Disneyland, but I was naked. It is a very bizarre place in general. I was there the day before Halloween and they were playing this weird halloween music in the dressing room that had a bunch of people screaming and then a few steps later I was in this giant roman bath.

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But プール is the word for pool. I think in this case, the actual reasoning is just a shortening made to make it sound interesting.

Depends on the dialect of English. I don’t pronounce the final R either. In American English, it’s pronounced. But OK, maybe my overall reasoning of ‘final consonant prominence’ is wrong either way.

I’d just like to point out though… if you compare a syllable-final R in a word like ‘card’ and a syllable-initial R in a word like ‘professional’ in American English (which is often a teaching standard in Japan, it seems), you’ll notice that the same sound is made, but only one gets transcribed in Japanese, kinda like how a syllable-initial L (‘light L’, I think) tends to be more perceptible than a syllable-final L (‘dark L’), as in ‘lion’ versus ‘ill’. That’s the sort of ‘prominence’ I’m talking about, even though in Japanese, it seems to only matter when determining whether or not to transcribe an R as an R row sound or as a long vowel. Accounting for prominence is still a preservation of sound. Of course, I don’t know if Japan’s earliest English loanwords were from Britain or America, so I don’t know if any of this actually applies.

Thanks for the other examples of abbreviations.

In my defence, I’m really just making guesses here. Regardless of whether or not it’s ‘natural’, スパプー exists. I’m just saying that there’s a precedent. It could, of course, just be an abbreviation for the sake of being interesting, like @MegaZeroX said.

All I was doing was looking for patterns that might connect スパプー to other words in Japanese in order to explain why people might still understand the abbreviation/make the connection. Even if we accept that it’s just a choice on the part of the company, their target audience has to be able to understand the chosen abbreviation.

Anyway, it’s quite clear that none of my hypotheses are appreciated, so I’ll just leave everyone else to investigate. I see only one or two other attempts on this thread to even explain why this abbreviation might not seem strange.

Last thing I’ve found: it seems that スパプール is used fairly often on Twitter to refer to any sort of pool meant for soaking in and relaxing, including in a natural settings or on cruise ships, so perhaps the choice of スパプー was simply meant to make Spa World’s facility unique without straying too far from the original word. I stand by what I said about ネトゲ insofar as it provides a precedent for three-syllable abbreviations, and I think the fact that many Japanese abbreviations of English phrases (like パトカー) are four morae long means that スパプー fits right in. I retract whatever I said about ‘consonant prominence’ because it doesn’t apply in this case (i.e. it doesn’t work for the letter L).

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