Frank Zakka

Forget “Engrish.” We get it already: sometimes Japanese copywriters are not very good at writing within the English language. You’ve just repeated the same joke 10,000 times.

Let’s try something new: Engrich. Instead of showing the mistakes of Japanese working within English, let’s hunt for examples of brilliant cross-linguistic creation.

The first example: “Frank Zakka.” This Shibuya arty-accessories store’s name is a pun on the musician Frank Zappa and zakka (雑貨) — the Japanese word for accessories. But you already knew that.

W. David MARX
March 12, 2008

14 Responses

  1. ale/pepino Says:

    I do dig the concept of Engrich and “Frank Zakka” sounds brilliant, but I don’t believe it to be a very accurate example.

    I’m going to search the city for examples that “engrich” common English words, rather than proper names.

  2. Aceface Says:

    GOD DOG,the canine accessory shop

  3. Aceface Says:

    KIT KAT gets huge sales during entrass exam season for the pun of きっと勝つ

  4. W. David MARX Says:

    Because the education system in Japan is evidently based on competition towards positions within a fixed hierarchy.

  5. Rory P. Wavekrest Says:

    Because the education system in Japan is evidently based on light, crispy wafers within a sweet chocolate coating.

    (fixed your post for you.)

  6. Aceface Says:

    How’bout ”ググる”for googling?

  7. W. David MARX Says:

    I meant to do a whole post on the Katakana Eigo verbs like ダブる, パロる etc. But yeah, they’re pretty fun.

  8. Andy Says:

    I’ve always like the chain of bars in Kobe called “In Shock Ten”

  9. M-Bone Says:

    Saw a (Japanese run) Mexican place called Taberuna! (in hiragana) – Taverna in Spanish or “don’t eat!” in Japanese (which all of the regulars here know but these comments are not exactly always guest friendly).

  10. odot Says:

    david, i’m pretty desperate to reach you (emails don’t seem to have worked so far) – could you write me at my other mail adress – odot.lamm@wanadoo.fr – when you have some time? merci!

  11. cee Says:

    my favourite users of ‘engrich’ are probably sixties-themed Johnny’s group ‘THE GOOD-BYE’, whose song titles were full of cross-language puns like ‘YOU惑MAY惑’ (yuuwaku/meiwaku, ‘temptation/nuisance’) and ‘とLOVEるジェネレーション’ (ie ‘toRABUru generation’, i.e. ‘trouble generation’). One of their albums was called ‘GOOD VIBRATIONS’: just thinking about this fact makes me really happy.

  12. Jared Says:

    Hang-o-bar in Roppongi. (Scroll)

  13. d.b. crump Says:


    thats genius.

  14. ted Says:

    My friend and i liked the idea of doing a Mexican restaurant with the name, “Aji Wow!”