“A little” shanking is requested, but that’s not the only weird thing about the baffling bits of Japanese flavor text.
Japan doesn’t always have the firmest grasp on English grammar and vocabulary, as anyone who’s spent much time in the country or dealing with Japanese-made products knows. Still, sub-par English keeps showing up in Japan, partly because the country is trying to internationalize, and partly just because Japanese people think English looks cool.
That might seem like a naive way of thinking, but it’s not exclusive to Japan’s relationship with English. Sometimes the Japanese writing that shows up in other countries is pretty crazy too. For example, Japanese Twitter user @steinfeld_Va was recently eating at a restaurant in Indonesia that bills itself as specializing in Japanese cuisine, but it turned out to be the menu, more so than the food, that left an impression.
To start with, the managers of Tokyo Belly, located in Jakarta, went with some unusual names for their dishes, such as “Slam Dunk” for small salmon sushi balls, whose shape and color are probably supposed to resemble basketballs, like the ones seen in sports anime Slam Dunk. The real weirdness, though, is the untranslated passages of Japanese text sprinkled around the menu, like how on the page of bibimbap (actually a Korean hotpot dish) the restaurant proudly proclaims Kanzen na hara no ato, subete ha shi desu (完全な腹の後すべては詩です), which means:
“Following a complete stomach, everything is a poem.”
Okay, that one’s probably a flubbed translation where they meant to say “full” instead of “complete.” It’s harder to figure out what the message was supposed to be on the sushi roll page, though, which commands Sukoshi sasare! Sukoshi sasare! (少し刺され！少し刺され！), or:
“Be stabbed a little! Be stabbed a little!”
Meanwhile, the mystic wisdom of the pasta page reveals that…
In Tokyo Belly’s defense, the restaurant makes no attempts to hide the way it prioritizes playfulness over authenticity. You can tell as much from the chopstick wrapper, which informs you, in English, that “This is your weapon to attack the food!”
There are even times where English is the starting point for the weirdness, like with the “Orgasmic Roll,” which is simply rendered as closely to the English pronunciation as possible in Japanese, becoming orugasumikku roru. No word on what’s in it by the way, though it sounds like just the sort of place cheeky chefs would hide a dab of creamy shirako, or maybe a few nice, crispy ringeru.