Adventures in Engrish

I thought we could use a little chuckle today…

About five years ago, MeadMaker gave me a toy for Christmas, which I found again while unpacking things we’d stored in the basement while we had our addtition built. Anyway, he didn’t give me the toy for the toy, so much as he gave me the toy for the instructions that came with it. Seriously, the instructions alone are worth whatever he paid for the thing. Here, transcribed exactly, is the insert that came with the toy:

Roller Ball (Operating Instruction)

Roller Ball can increase your wrist strength by playing for fun purpose. It is popular amusing exercise equipment. For the user in the beginning, practice it at different high speed revolving. After you are skillful, you might grasp the secret to let the ball send out the sound of Bon…At that time, the speed will reach to the speed of 8 cycles per second. You may have a new experience about Roller Ball.

*Cautions for use.

1. Be sure that don’t touch to the ball body when it is at high-speed revolving.

2. Keep clean inside of ball and avoid any minor articles.

3. Keep away from moist and watered places.

4. As it is precisely produced, never fall on hard surface.

Isn’t that just GREAT!? I do have to say that I’m impressed with the proper placement of commas, though I wonder what the “sound of Bon” is, and why it’s something to strive for….



Filed under little bits of nothingness

11 responses to “Adventures in Engrish

  1. You watch Heroes, right? I love that the writers and actor make Hiro recreate almost exactly the form and language you transcribed here.

  2. I not only watch Heroes, I LOVE it and am putting the DVDs on my wish list as soon as they’re available. I can’t really remember when I’ve had this much fun with t.v. I, too, love how Hiro speaks and I think it makes him all that much more likeable. He’s just adorable…

    I almost felt guilty posting this, really. It’s not nice to make fun of people trying to make our language work and, if I’m to be truly fair, I should post some of the atrocities that have passed my desk from the hand of students – native speakers, all. This just cracked me up, though, so I went with it.

  3. “The sound of Bon”

    I’m TOTALLY striving for that….that is going to be my ultimate goal this week!

  4. Yeah? Well, let me know what happens when you attain it, please. I’ve been playing with this frickin’ ball for years now, and still, nuthin’…

  5. PS: Yes, SMF has all his limbs….exactly where God intended them to be even!

    He’s a good guy.

  6. claudia

    I’m familiar with the “ball” of which you speak! It takes a particular wrist action that guys seem to have mastered better than we females!

  7. What cassie said! I, too, want to attain the Sound of Bon. Ahh, bliss.

    And as for Claudia’s ‘wrist action’ commnet. Well, ahem, erm … *koff*more practice in the shower as teenagers*koff*

  8. Tony

    I too have purchased this ball, and when i read the instructions, I couldn’t stop laughing.
    I’ve been searching for an answer to the meaning of Bon for about two years now, and have had no luck.

  9. Tony

    I’m so exited, I just found out what might be the meaning of Bon. Bon is a Japanese sound effect, sounding a magical transformation or appearance, often heard with a puff of smoke

  10. Some students in my South Korean middle school just handed me this toy and I’m at a loss for how to use it. They also handed me the exact same directions you’ve posted here. I googled “the sound of bon” and found your blog.

    Did you ever make it work? It’s killing me.

  11. That’s TOO FUNNY!

    Yes, I have gotten it to work, but expressing exactly how is probably going to prove difficult. Let’s try…

    Start by making a claw shape with your empty dominant hand, palm facing slightly down (I’m right handed, so my palm faces across my body to my left). Tuck your elbow against your body and keep your upper arm still. Now, imagine that you have a pencil sticking from the center of your palm and, using just your wrist, start drawing circles in the air about the diameter of a large soup can. That’s the motion you’re going to use to try to get the ball going.

    My husband, if he plays with it enough, can get the thing started with his thumb, but I start by winding the string in the ball. Hold the toy in your dominant hand (for starters, anyway) and give the string a firm pull; you want to get the inner ball rolling at a good pace – too slowly and you won’t have enough momentum, too quickly and the string will “strip” and the ball won’t really roll at all. Once you’ve got the inner ball spinning, move your palm to face slightly down and start making those soup can circles with your wrist.

    It’s going to take a lot of practice (and a fair bit of patience, but I think you’ve discovered this part already, haven’t you?), but, at some point, you’ll figure out the pattern and rhythm you need to get that inner gyro spinning. Once you get it – and it’s a wicked rush when you do just because it took so damned long to figure it out! – you’ll be able to keep it running with almost no effort at all. Your soup can circles can get smaller and you can move the toy from hand to hand or person to person (just hold on TIGHT to the thing – it has a mind of its own when it’s going good and it’s HARD when you drop it on your foot… ask me how I know). I think “the sound of bon” is the buzz of the inner ball going – it moves at some ridiculous RPM when it’s rolling right – and please make sure if you want to stop the thing you either hold still and let it run itself out or you stop it against a couch cushion or your jeans or something; don’t touch it or you’ll get a friction burn… ask me how I know.

    What fun! Do email back and let me know when you figure it out!!



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