Your Most Misleading Katakana Encounters?

The Japanese language is trying its best, you guys, with katakana, but sometimes it’s just not good enough.

What have been some of your most confusing or funny encounters with rough katakana translations?

My favorite: at a bar, saw an item on the menu that was デッド ポニークラブ

I stared at it for quite some time. I sounded it out. I double checked I wasn’t getting it wrong (my katakana can be a little rusty)

I asked the proprietor “Deddo Poni Kurabu”? He nodded. “Dead pony crab?” I said with an English pronunciation. He nodded again.

I ordered it.

Out came my order: a beer from the brewing company “Dead Pony Club”

Of course

Which is still a weird name, but not as downright dadaist as Dead Pony Crab.


For me, it’s gotta be the fact that the power sockets ask for consent lol


I came here to say that but you beat me to it. LOL

Then, you have クレーム for “claim” for a complaint about something.

Image result for クレーム gif


You’d think マンション would mean mansion, but no, it refers to condos and apartments >:o


YO! YOU’RE SO ナイーブ!No, not naive. Sensitive.

  • I just learned シビア(severe) as in 「シビアな現実だ」(the severe truth)
  • Also リベート (rebate/commission) is quite silly as well

Sometimes it just goes overboard. Below is part of an email my colleague got at work. Looks like a different language :sweat_smile:


ツインデラックスx ツインプレミアム

ツインデラックス x キングプレミアム

キングヒルトン x ツインプレミアム



キングヒルトン x ツインエグゼクティブ

キングヒルトン x キングエグゼクティブ

ツインヒルトン x キングシティースイートエグゼクティブ

ツインエグゼクティブ x キングシティースイートエグゼクティブ


I’m halfway convinced by this that if you just spoke regular English to a Japanese person, but used katakana syllables, they’d understand you perfectly


haha yes, it can take you pretty far actually!


Perhaps it’s not misleading, but I’d have had a hard time figuring out on my own that スマホ is smartphone.


I had an example sentence telling my that i was taking a bus with my friends to 「ベイクウェル」and i had no idea what was happening.

Here in England, a Bakewell is a small tarty cake thing with jam and icing and a cherry on top. That is all i have ever know it to be.

So the prospect of taking a bus to a tart was very confusing. Apparently it is a small village (where the tart originates from), that made a bit more sense.


I imagine this is more of an issue for Japanese speakers hearing “mansion” in English, since their word never means “huge house”. But English “mansion” can mean apartment building, and that’s presumably where they took it from.

I feel like it’s a pretty equal issue both ways though – the primary meaning in English refers to large houses, and though by definition it can mean an apartment building, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it referred to as such in my life :thinking:


Yeah, I’ve never encountered mansion used that way in English, personally. Maybe in terms of an absolutely enormous and fancy unit in Manhattan or something, but even then, I think I’d probably call it a “penthouse” to make that distinction instead.

@Leebo maybe it’s regional? Where have you heard it that way?


I haven’t heard it. It’s listed as a British definition if you check a dictionary.


Good intel, thanks!

1 Like

bakewell is a lovely town! Can recommend going and trying a bakewell pudding (not a bakewell tart!) before a walk in the peaks


Would never ever use mansion to mean apartment here in Britland. Maybe its a french thing?


I’ve definitely seen it used as such in Britain. Here is a random ten-seconds-of-Googling example, but I know I’ve seen some just wandering the streets too.

Mansion here is being used as a proper noun, the apartments are called ‘The Mansion’ and it is using the connotation of mansions being huge and grand to impart a sense of luxrury.

Which kinda wouldn’t work if it just meant bog standard apartment…

It might possible mean the big building that houses the apartments but would never be used for an individual apartment. In which case the meaning is still big house.


I lived in England for about 5 years and I never heard apartments called a mansion either :slight_smile: My mom is British and she has also never heard that. I think I’ve heard “flats” used, but I could be wrong.