Sunday, February 21 2010

Dear Amazon,

Please don’t pollute the well. Search results for the writer Masako Bandou return a link to an Amazon US product page for the title “13 of Pornographic Chica Japanese Language Book”. No details, no availability, no hint that the book has ever actually existed. Because it doesn’t.

The actual book sold by Amazon Japan is called “13のエロチカ”, which should properly be translated as “13 Erotic Stories”. The loanword used is “erochika”, which is not the nonexistent hybrid English-Spanish loanword “ero-chica”, but the perfectly ordinary “erotica”. The book even includes French on the title, “13 Histoires Erotiques”, just in case the casual viewer is confused.

The two possibilities are a lazy “self-publisher” using machine translation (of at least the titles) or a used book store that was trying to unload a bunch of used Japanese books, and was ambitious enough to hire someone who had taken a year of Japanese and could mangle the titles into Engrish, but didn’t bother including the ISBNs.

The only good thing I got out of this little adventure was the discovery that a Google image search for the acronym “asin” returns something far more interesting than publishing data.