On Translating Japanese

Translation is a creative act. Take this sign next to the gashapon (capsule toy machines).

Version 1:

“This bin is for capsules and unwanted prizes only. To help with recycling, please do not leave other rubbish here.

“Please do not take discarded items from the bin or you may be asked to leave the arcade.

“Akihabara Hey”

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Version 2:

“This waste disposal basket is exclusively for use with the ‘gachgacha’ prize machines. It is respectfully requested that customers cooperate with the practice of sorting rubbish into different kinds.

“Please do not scavenge in the rubbish basket. In the event of a discovery of such behaviour, customers may on occasion be respectfully ejected from the establishment.

“Akihabara Hey”

Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people