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Category Archives: language

This is no. 8 in a series of posts that is about funny business names or signs that we captured on film. From time to time during our travels, we come across English names that makes us laugh.

Check out Hilarity in names #1, #2, #3#4#5, #6 and #7.

Gentle Monster – Authorized Lens Service Store in Seoul


Xray at Zurich airport sells specs – these eyewear shops have imaginative names !


Meat Stop – a fast food joint in Moscow – bonus : there is a “pre-party bar” next door – I couldn’t decipher the cyrillic name.


iCracked – a store that repairs phone and tablet screens and sell protectors in Tokyo


This bar in Madrid is brutal.


“WELLMADE” in Seoul – something “for our work & life balance with Indian” ?  I cannot remember what it sells. The Korean sign above is advertising for a place called Geneva which provides cosmetic and dermatologic treatment including hair growth.


Lefties in Madrid


In the end, there is “anal” in Bilbao or perhaps it is “anai” or “ana1”  …

There are more to come …


This is no. 7 in a series of posts that is about funny business names or signs that we saw. Since we visited Japan recently, we would make this post a Tokyo special.

See Hilarity in names #1, #2, #3#4#5 and #6 at the respective link.


Fun shop names-1

“Master Bunny Edition” – a line of Golf wear, really.

Fun shop names-3

“The Obsession Gallery”

Fun shop names-6

“Raw Life”

Fun shop names-7

“Hair Slug”

Fun shop names-4

“C’est Bien” – It’s well – SM gears.

Fun shop names-8

” Whoop’-de-doo’ ”   – costume no age

Fun shop names-5

“Vandalism” – an alternative cafe and bar

Fun shop names-2

Tokyo is rich.

Don’t forget to check the other posts.

This is no. 6 in a series of posts that is about funny business names or signs that we captured on film. Since we are now living in continental Europe, from time to time we come across English names that makes us laugh.

See Hilarity in names #1, #2, #3#4 and #5 at the respective link.

“Fatal” restaurant, Budapest, Hungary


Deadly Shop, Catania, Sicily


Less is Less – a bike shop. There was a “More & More” in an earlier post.


Less is More – we suspect one can buy this neon sign from somewhere because we saw another neon sign of similar size and style of script in Vienna last year, and here it is again in Kuala Lumpur. See the other sign here.


Made in World – that’s just about everywhere, right ?


Dive cafe & bar


Funny Boy Kebab


There are more to come …

This is no. 5 in a series of posts that is about funny business names that we captured on film. Since we are now living in continental Europe, from time to time we come across English names that makes us laugh.

See Hilarity in names #1, #2, #3 and #4 here.

Boner – a lamp store in Berlin


LSD = Love Sex Dreams (possibly too small to see in photo), Berlin


Tattoo Mums, Copenhagen


Just Eat, Copenhagen


Restaurant Live Food, Catania, Sicily – if you read the menu, you will notice the last item on the meat column is “Chicken Chest” !


Burger King in Italy have on its menu “Angry Whopper” – we thought it might have something to do with Angry Birds but there was no other visible promotional text or items to confirm.


Slut Spurt – no idea what it means in Danish (even after checking Google Translate), Copenhagen



Well, Danish colleague confirmed that it means something like a last minute dash in a race – here, I guess it means a last chance sale.

We are caught a bit off guard when the admin page of WordPress indicated that our next post will be the six hundredth (600th) that we published. As previously said several times, we are surprised that the interest in keeping up this blog has not fizzled out over the last 5 years. True it is, that we are still living in Europe and away from our friends and families, the primary reason for starting the blog. But we also find that this blog is a convenient medium to capture and frame memories of our time in Switzerland and our travels, and it became a habit and a hobby (at least for Chris).


The blog was launched on November 4, 2009. The first trip ever reported here was our visit of Playa de Carmen, Mexico in November 2009 (click here to see). We had not yet left the US at that time but were starting to pack our belongings and worried about the move.


Fast forward to now, posts on our quick tour of three cities – Taormina, Siracusa (Ortigia) and Catania – on the east coast of Sicily, taken during Easter, are under preparation now. Our most recent visit to Berlin and Copenhagen earlier this month has not yet been written up. Most of the photos are still in Raw format.


Since March 2013, we have been posting a series of photos on Facebook, one a day except Sunday and Thursday when the blog is updated. There is no theme – just something random and per se visually interesting. They are essentially pictures that did not make the blog for some reasons. We gave each a serial number, a minimally-worded title and a mention of where it was taken (to the extent we could remember the location). But we wanted to share them with the readers here too – so we started showing 5 of them in a post – somewhat irregularly. This is the first of the series – #1 – “the history of cool” –  Munich.


So far we have shown about 150 of them here, but on Facebook, we are at #444 – there is a backlog of almost 300 random photos! On days when we are not writing the blog, these photos could keep the blog going for a while. This is #443 – “dark 3” – Taormina.


The readership of this blog has stabilized at around 50-70 views per day. Apart from posting a link in Facebook, Twitter and Google+ each time a post goes public, we made little attempts to drive up the statistics. We also signed up Pinterest but have not seen much changes (perhaps we are not leveraging the site properly). But other people have pinned our photos on pinterest.  So if you do not feel like writing a comment, pin a photo.


Recently, we noticed that the page view of one of our posts in April on eating durian on the street of Petaling Jaya (click here to see) has gone through the roof (more than 120 views last week alone and maintaining the momentum). It must have caught the attention of certain netizens in Malaysia (as reflected in WordPress statistics), and got linked to an index or a popular site.


The reigning champion of page views is still our first post on HSBC’s poster ads as seen around major airports in 2010 (click here). Its two siblings are receiving decent traffic too.

This blog has changed its theme (a WordPress term for the overall look and feel of the blog) only once which happened within the first month of its launch. So the appearance remains constant for the last few years and it is getting a bit aged. But we are hesitant to change to a more modern theme as it could affect somewhat unpredictably the old posts. More experimenting is needed (if we have more time).


One day we might want to make a book (or several books) using these photos, like the ones we did for Yellowstone National Park and Iceland back in 2007.

We have been buying books showing photos of a city “then and now” or aerial views of an area.


Before signing off, we want to thank our readers for their interest and support, and Susie who has been responding to our posts consistently and ranks No. 1 with the highest number of comments.


Your feedback is important as it is the only way we know someone is reading the blog. So please comment, like, retweet, follow, clip, subscribe, pin, bookmark, repost or do some good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. In the meantime, we will continue to share words and images of our adventures.



This is no. 4 in a series of posts that is about funny business names that we saw. Since we are now living in continental Europe, from time to time we come across English names that makes us laugh. We caught some other funny names here that have an alternative meaning.

See the earlier posts Hilarity in names #1, #2  and #3, herehere and here.

Lucky Stiff Cuir, Chambery – leatherwear (cuir means leather in French)


The Mosquito, Ko Samui – it says “accommodation” above in neon blue –  so it is a hostel, is the name a warning ?


Les enfants terribles, Barcelona – (les enfants means the children)


Wormland, Munich – it is a clothing store not a pet or bait store.


Awfully chocolate, Hong Kong


Anti-Flirt, Paris


Bad Hotel zum Hirsch, Baden-Baden (Bad means spa in German)




This is no. 3 in a series of posts that is about funny business names that we saw. Since we are now living in continental Europe, from time to time we come across English names that makes us laugh. See Hilarity in names #1 and #2, here and here.

What makes most of us laugh ? Mention a bodily function.

Farto – Sao Paulo – a drugstore.


Fart is the name of a transportation network serving the Ticino region of Switzerland.


Another Fart.


2theloo – Amsterdam. This is a pay-to-use public bathroom that sells toiletries.


To balance the tone of this post, here are some names that show a bit of wit in naming a business.

Less is More, Vienna


More & More, somewhere in Germany


As it says, there are More and More.


*Oh_ mystore!  – Hong Kong


More to come.

This is no. 2 in a series of posts that is about funny business names that we captured on camera. Since we are now living in continental Europe, from time to time we come across English names that makes us laugh. See Hilarity in names #1 here.

Happy pills, Amsterdam


Happy seems to be popular word to use a name. I am sure there are lots out there.

Happy Horse – Lugano.


Dick, Bern


Dirty Dicks, London


Homeless, Hong Kong – a shop that sells housewares


Get your gift – Lugano. English words are hip in parts of Europe.


Mess, New York, Chinatown. It is a hair salon called Mess.


Hope these photos brought a smile to your face.

This is a new series of posts that is about funny business names that we saw. Since we are now living in continental Europe, from time to time we come across English names that makes us laugh.

White Trash Fast Food, Berlin


Well, these business names are not as crazy as the menu translations and informational signs in China (there are web sites and flickr pages dedicated to that madness). Click here for some laughs.

No Water – Versailles  – Yes, it is a bar called No Water.


Nocollection – Paris


the dog is hot – Barcelona  – hot dog takeout joint with racy graphics


Fatty, Sao Paulo – sells ladies’ shoes.


Fatty Man, sells to men.


Hope these photos brought a smile to your face.

There are about 1.6 million French-speakers in Switzerland, about 20% of the total population. My tutor is Swiss and has lived his entire life in Lausanne. His father is French. I(Chris) suspect that I will be learning French with a slighty Swiss accent. But it is really not a concern one way or the other, because my English-American accent will be so strong that it will mask any Swiss influence.

Unlike the spoken standard German (Hochdeutsch) and Swiss German, there is as far as I know not much difference between Parisian French and Swiss French. A Swiss French speaker would have no trouble understanding a French speaker, while a French speaker would encounter only a few unfamiliar Swiss French words. The French also thinks the Swiss speaks relatively slowly and any deviations are just provincial (at least for the Parisians).

I will keep a running list of the differences here. In my first class, to check my competence, my tutor and I went over the numbers quickly. In France, the number 60 is soixante. To go higher than 69, one must also know base 20 mathematics. For 70, it is soixante-dix (sixty-ten). For 80, it is quatre-vingts (four-twenties) and 90 is quatre-vingts-dix (four-twenties-ten). The Swiss saved us from that mental calculation – 70 is septante (sept is 7), 80 is huitante (huit is 8) and 90 is nonante (neuf is 9, so this one is a bit different). Huitante is used mostly in the cantons of Vaud, Valais, and Fribourg, but not so much in Geneva or Neuchatel.

Before we came to live in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (Suisse Romande), I (Chris) already knew a little bit of French. This, I have to thank my mother who volunteered me to French classes at Alliance Française. That institution, whose mission is to spread the Gallic language and culture around the globe, were really focused on teaching conversational French.  It applied a total immersion approach that forbade the teacher and students to use another language during class.

My teacher was a Frenchman from Corsica (Corse) who taught French in French to a class who did not know any French. I was a teenager and found that approach fun. At that age, learning a new language was probably easier.

Institut des Sciences Clavologiques  =  The Institute of the Science of Nails. In Lyon.

Then while in secondary school in England, it was mandatory to study a second language (the choices were French or German). So I continued with French classes in preparation for a public examination (GCE Ordinary level). My teacher was a young English woman who taught us French in English. The focus was mostly on grammar, composition, reading comprehension and vocabulary, with very little conversation.

After the examination, I never had the need to use the language except the few times when I visited France. But now, it is real.

Soon after settling in Lausanne, I enrolled myself in a group class which met in the evening once a week.  But I was too busy and missed many classes. Although I work in a francophone environment, many of my colleagues prefer to use English, and a lot of Lausannoises speak English. The hardest part for me is listening comprehension.

So here I am, re-starting my classes, this time with a private tutor whom I will meet once a week on Saturday morning.

Saw this notice at the Museum of Beaux Art in Lyon, it says:

“In the exhibition hall of the museum, every one can look, telephone, discuss, observe, eat, share, discover, laugh, run, be marveled, smoke, hate, breathe, shout, rest, dream, reflect, touch, ask oneself, be delighted, photograph with flash, imagine, be outraged, drink, stroll, take one’s time, be moved, …etc.”

I (Chris) started blogging when we moved from the United States to Switzerland. It has been an easy and fun way to share our experiences and keep in touch with our many friends. The result is Chris and Sue’s Excellent (?) Adventures which is viewed not only by friends and family but increasingly also by strangers who “liked”, commented on and even started following the blog. This is my first ever blog entry which was posted on November 15, 2009 at 2am !

I am surprised how this project has been continuing for almost three years. New post goes up on average twice a week but it does take time and effort to fix the selected photos and write about them. And now I am re-starting my French classes, with home work and all, less time will be available.

So, this is the idea. Rather than stopping or reducing the output, what if I blog about the language and my attempt to learn it? I can even write about my observations of its usage in my surroundings. While this must have been done many times before, it is an experiment that is worth trying. These posts will certainly help me retain what was taught in class (at least if memory fades, I can look it up online). Wikipedia has this map showing the Francophone countries.

While it is not difficult to find a topic for sharing online, it can be a struggle to continuously find interesting things to post under the chosen topic and to make it enjoyable to read so that people will return for more. So here are several ideas on what I might post. With most languages (except perhaps computer languages), there are always some exceptions to the grammar and usage rules. The irregularities and exceptions are the bane of any language student as each has to be learned individually. I might write something about these oddities which are commonly used.

Another topic of interest is the so-called “false friends” or faux amis – pairs of words or phrases in two languages or dialects that look or sound similar, but differ in meaning. Maybe I would also explore the root of certain words which has a common origin with English.

All the photos here were taken somewhere in Lyon in 2010.

Expect to see these posts once in a while, and I will try to keep them entertaining. Á bientôt.