Here’s a light little sign with a rush of humour thrown in to round off the weekend. Dumplings with an explosive twist!
So, here’s what we have:
(In hiragana: ばくだん しょうてん。 ボンバーやき せんもんてん)
ばくだん means ‘bomb’, as you probably gathered from the fun smiling logo this place uses. We also get the feeling that these peeps have a sense of humour. Can you guess why? It’s all in the two kanji that follow: 笑店.
The kanji 笑 means ‘laugh’ or ‘smile’ and can be read either with it’s Japanese (kun-yomi) reading: わらい, or with its Chinese (on-yomi) reading: しょう. The second kanji means ‘store’ or ‘shop’ and can be read みせ in the kun-yomi or てん in the on-yomi.
Putting them together then, it becomes しょうてん. When kanji are combined, the general rule is to use the on-yomi, but there are, unfortunately, exceptions. It’s usually safe to go with the on-yomi if you aren’t sure however!. So what have we got? ‘Laughing shop’? Yes!
Why is this funny? Because it plays on the homophone of しょうてん. Written with different kanji, しょうてん becomes this: 商店 which is the frequently used word for ‘store’ or ‘business’. So the intended phrase is ばくだん商店 or ‘Bomb Shop‘! What?? A shop that sells explosives? Now we’re really confused.
Read on though and we see this:
Which roughly translates to ‘Bomber-yaki specialist store’. 専門店 indicates the ‘specialist’ part, telling us that this company considers themselves somewhat professional in whatever ‘Bomber-yaki’ is. You might recongise ‘yaki’ from other food words like たこ焼き and お好み焼き (おこのみやき) – Octopus dumplings and Japanese-style pancakes. Basically, it means something is cooked or fried. So, ‘Fried Bomber’.
We’re still pretty confused right? But at least we now know this store has something to do with food. Our answers are given to us after we take a look at the store. It’s a special kind of Takoyaki! Those little octopus dumplings are bomb-shaped after all, but what’s this ‘bomber-yaki’ all about? Turns out that they put as many as 10 ingredients in their dumplings, making them quite different to the octopus-only regular style! Perhaps the dumplings are so packed full with ingredients that they are ready to explode!?
They have a website too, by the looks of it, and a Twitter account! Have a read if you are feeling up it it and maybe even pay them a visit if you are in Nagoya :).