Ian’s 9-year-old birthday party had a bike theme.  All the kids brought their vehicles (one poor guy still had training wheels about which he exclaimed, in his defense, “I live on a busy street!  I haven’t had much practice!”) and rode as a pack in the neighborhood.

Chris went to buy the goodie bag supplies and struck absolute gold.  Not the Safety Warning Flashing Lamp, which had the lifespan of a moth, but the PACKAGING.  We knew instantly that what we most loved about this product was the amazingly bad but strangely poetic translation from Chinese to English.

Chris’s brother Ken had a classic and creative interpretation of the wording.  Strumming his guitar (which is what he does most of the time he’s sitting in our living room anyway), he said “Wow, these are like Michael Stipe lyrics.”  Ken then went into an REM riff and sang these words on top of the chords, which worked perfectly. 

Now, many years later, Ian’s friends have all left their training wheels behind, we are out of the birthday party and goodie bag stage (HOORAY – that’s another blog post – no more crazy straws and cheap erasers!), and our firstborn is riding a track bike.  Yes, much has changed, but one thing endures:  this piece of packaging that we cherish.

For more hilarious lost-in-translation products and signs, check out Engrish.

And on a similar topic, my friend Sarah has just sent this entertaining story about the toast “chin-chin,” which was discussed a few posts ago in comments on Double Dinner.  Thank you!



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