Sunday, December 13, 2009

Will Miss #91 - initials with a different cross-cultural meaning

I occasionally buy a packet of nutritional supplements which has "Ca and VD" on the front of it. The "VD" isn't venereal disease, but vitamin D, but the initials always bring syphilis and gonorrhea to mind. There are a lot of cases where the Japanese use of initials is completely innocent, but comes across very differently to me. One of the most common ones is "K.Y." You see it on shirts and mentioned in ads and signs. For us, "KY" brings to mind a certain brand of lubricant which is frequently used in various sex acts. Seeing a sign that says "I (heart) KY" brings about a sly smile. (K.Y., incidentally, means kakkoi (cool) and yasui (cheap) in Japan.)

I'll miss the innocent use of initials which carries a more salacious sense back home.