Friday, February 15, 2008

My New Playground

I have discovered the considerable delights of eBay.

I love Japanese antiques, but perhaps even more, I love the descriptive translations of some of the items whose sellers are in Japan.

"Note: I think that this hanging scroll was written 60 years or more ago. this can call it YATIYOSISI famous also for kabuki of Japan -- it is . Very wonderful fine work is done. And aren't there those [ any ] who would not like you to see this picture without being? I was impressed by too much beauty. Please see well if you please.
This does not have a serious damage by a grade with some spot.
It can decorate immediately.
And I think that your room is matched."

I had to bid on that one. Because of the English. I'm not sure how they know that my room is matched, but I am going to trust them because how can anyone not be impressed by too much beauty?

"Note: This is the fan stand made in Japan. Famous ZUIZAN made also from KYO ware of Japan. Although the first picture is a sample, please use it for how or this appearance. However, since it rolls by a round thing, please let a side bite some.
There is a serious damage and it does not carry out. Please make it your item if you please."

I would be happy to let a side bite some if I knew how. And I'm American -- I love wheels round things.

"Note: This is the glass made in Japan.
It is KIRIKO transmitted from the Edo period of Japan. And this beautiful glass is present age revival better .
And the saucer of cloth is also attached. It is both wonderful.
Pleasant time can be spent with husband and wife and a friend."


I call it the Menage a Trois glass. I didn't bid on this one because I knew we could never agree on who the friend should be.


meggie said...

I love this post!! My brother collects Netsuke, & he has perused the Ebay offerings.
I had a Japanese-made Brother sewing machine, & the instruction book was hilarious.
I do love Japanese art, & items.
Have you ever read Tanya's blog,"Taniwa"
She is an American born lady, with Japanese parents, who has married a Japanese man, & her posts are wonderful insights to her world, living in Japan.
I have her listed as Taniwa on my sidebar.

Anonymous said...

Its funny trying to decipher what they really meant. I'm sure they just used the translate button and ebay did they best it could.

furiousBall said...

My father traveled to Japan 7-8 times a year for his job and his home is filled with stuff, I love Japanese art.

RED MOJO said...

I have been Ebaying for years and have had close to 200 successful transactions. I have been ripped off 3 times, 1 for around $200 which I recovered through my credit card company, and two small amounts, under $20, I never recovered. Paypal does not give all the protection they claim. I bought 3 items from Japan, a chess set, a sake set, and a movie. All 3were fine but it takes a long time. The sake set came beautifully gift wrapped with a thank you card and some extra little soaps, so nicely done. Enjoy, but be careful, check out how many transactions they have, how much negative feedback, and how long they have had the account on Ebay.

daysgoby said...

Beautiful things!

I love the horse - was that a netsuke? (I think that's spelled right!)

'Impressed by too much beauty...'
-great headstone, for someone!

DMB said...

I have slowly become accustomed to Japanese English that makes no sense whatsoever.

It is fashionable to wear anything that has English splattered across it, so you really see some interesting phrases written across peoples' chests. One of the winners was a little girl with the words, "I have the best boobs in the world" slashed across her flat(naturally!)chest.

But most of the time, it is English much as you posted here. Long, laboriously, painfully phrased sentences with ambiguous meaning--at best.

English is taught in junior and high school (and a little in elementary school nowadays) but the English that is studied is really difficult vocabulary and convoluted formal English that renders most people unavailable to have a simple conversation.


I only hope I can reign in my need to think Kanji (Chinese characters used in Japan) is cool. I'm ready to get a tattoo that means absolutely nothing-- simply for a cool design! Hah!

meno said...

Those are a riot. I love the translated descriptions. Last night i was boiling some udon noodles. The instructions on the package read "Boil in a plenty of water" and then "Cease fire" for what to do when the noodles were done.

Nick said...

Be warned - Ebay can be seriously addictive once you get going. That whole bidding scenario and all those tantalising treasures at bargain prices. There again, blogging can be seriously addictive as well....

heartinsanfrancisco said...


The horse picture in my post is Netsuke, made of boxwood.

I will be delighted to read Taniwa's blog, thank you. I have always wanted to visit Japan, or I should say revisit, as I'm sure I lived there in previous lifetimes.


They did well! I laughed until I cried while Poor Flip was trying to sleep.


I think the Japanese have the best artistic sensibility in the world.


This novice thanks you for the cautionary tale. I'm glad you recovered the larger amount. I was unable to establish a PayPal account, for some reason. No idea why.

But I definitely have a new addiction so my other one, blogging, will probably suffer.


You're so right! It would be a great epitaph.

The horse is a Netsuke, and so far, I have the only bid on it. I normally prefer larger items, but I've become fascinated with the intricacy of these pieces.


I so love hearing about your life in Japan, and your American view of it.

Be careful with the Kanji tat. I've heard of people ending up with characters that mean "stupid white boy" (I know, not a danger) and various untoward proclivities described on their unwitting bodies.

Most of the people I know who were born in Japan speak excellent English because they came here to attend college and stayed. Still, the least of them can put me to shame linguistically as most of the Japanese words I know relate to ordering food.


"Cease fire." I love it! But if you are really trying to inflict damage, you might consider something other than noodles as the instrument of pain.


Too late. I am already in need of a 12-Step program.

"My name is Susan and I'm an eBay addict."

"Hiiiii, Susan."

seventh sister said...

I have been getting emails from aomeon from whom I have bought a fountain pen from in China. He keeps sending me emails about the progress of the shipping. They read very much like your Japanese descriptions. I wonder how we would sound to them.

Maria said...

This had me chuckling. There is a woman who I sometimes end up volunteering with at Liv's school. She and her husband are from Turkey. She and I grew to be good pals and once she told me that she was "in love with all of your parts."

I thought that was very sweet....

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I have no illusions about that. I speak several languages with a very good accent but my grammar is probably the stuff of parodies.


Maybe she IS in love with all your parts. I can see how that would happen. :)

Kevin Charnas said...

HHAA!! I LOVE IT. i love it.

When Will and I were in China. The housekeeper left a note on our desk that said; "I am really going to clean yours!"

and we waited...and we waited...and we waited.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


That's just cold. There is nothing worse than empty promises.

The CEO said...

The post is hilarious, I really enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

Oh girl, this post is too too!

I am not a bad person, I make skajillions of mistakes, I am not being judgmental, I am not above laughing at my own foibles. These quoted text items are to die for.

The appreciator of all things existentialist and Zen especially loved: And aren't there those [ any ] who would not like you to see this picture without being?


Best friend and I and have long been afficiondos of Chinese restaurant menu grammatical errors, um, koans. Latest fave: "Chump Duck in Orange Sauce".

Side note to "meno": "Cease fire"...laughed myself to tears. Thanks for that.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


Glad I could help.


So do they breed chump ducks, or does that happen later?

Meno's noodle directions made me laugh uncontrollably, too.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I once had numerous Japanese things given to me by friends in Japan. Unfortunately my ex-wife walked off with most of them.


Mariposa said...

Hahaha! We sometimes buy items from China and we'd rather not read their instructions because we just end up LOL and forget what was it we wanted to do with the item.

On the other hand, it's a good mental exercise trying to decipher what they wanted to say...

Thanks for chuckle!

Irrelephant said...

I think that of all the things the Internet Tubes have given us, Engrish is the finest! Thank you for the sharing with wife and husband and a friend! *lol*

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Saint Nick,

At least she didn't take Alex!


It's easy to forget what we're doing when we're laughing our heads off.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


What is more, there seem to be only two glasses in the photo so somebody is going to have to double up with somebody else.

Uh oh.

Anonymous said...

That's funny - I love English written by Asians. It has sme of them best odd phrasing.

Franki said...

Seriously, "who would not like you to see this picture without being"? This description pinpoints one of the greatest conundrums of the human species.

Too cute.

Bob said...

take a gander at
, my kids have been giggling over it for quite a while now.

WNG said...

I got Mama G hooked on eBay a while ago and I felt like a drug pusher. Glad I'm guilt free with you :)
Oh and I tagged you over at my place if you're interested...

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Instruction manuals are especially amusing when you have a million pieces of something on the floor and there is no diagram.


I speak English but not too many.


It says, "Tom had his way with many younger koalas." Uh oh.


Well, I'm in VERY good company then on my road to hell. I adore Mama G!

I'll be right there.

Jocelyn said...

You goof. Keep at the obsessive E-baying; it's endlessly a hoot!

I'd love to read this post once a week from you, girl.

Open Grove Claudia said...

My favorite wine is called Menage a Trois. Can you still get the glasses? ;)

Fun post. Did you really buy these things? They are so beautiful.

My gf went to Japan with the CIA after the war and (read:stole) came back with a bunch of Japanese artifacts. Amazing things. They were so very beautiful. But like all (read:stolen) well loved things, they were (stolen) misplaced when he died. Too bad, eh?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Once a week? I can blog or I can eBay. I cannot do both.


Funny name for a wine!

The only one of these things I bid on was the horse, and other items which I didn't mention because their descriptions didn't amuse me.

The karma of stolen things never fails. That's a great story.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

p.s. to Claudia,

And the scroll, called "The very beautiful woman with foo dog scroll."