Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I've been bringing my camera to work with me every day, so there will be photos from work... eventually. Meanwhile, here's a photo my coworker suggested I take when we were out eating lunch last week:


It's a sign for the restroom, in case you were wondering. The Chinese characters are pretty standard; it's the English letters that are interesting. The letters don't spell out the pinyin of the Chinese characters the way you'd expect. "Restroom" in Mandarin is pronounced "ce suo." So why is there "banso" on the sign? Try saying it out loud. Congratulations, you just said "restroom" in Taiwanese! (Well, probably a very mangled version, unless you actually know the language. It really should be more like "benSOH," but still, you kind of spoke a foreign language!) Cool, right?

A waitress caught me taking a photo of the sign and laughed. "Most other people just stand there and read the sign out loud," she said. "You're the first one I've seen actually taking a photograph of it." Then she went and told all her coworkers that there was someone taking a picture of their bathroom sign. I'm glad I amused them. Plus, it was such a Taiwanese sign I couldn't resist. :)