Word Play - Lemons and Boobus

Most Americans hearing the word "boo-boo" think of child talk for a mistake or minor injury like a skinned knee.

The word "lemon" can mean the fruit of course, but also is the common term for a car which came off the assembly line with chronic mechanical problems. The Federal Law outlining the rights of those unfortunate enough to buy such a car is called "the Lemon Law".

In Japan, "Lemon" is a fruit and "bubu" pronounced like boo-boo, is baby talk for car or vehicle.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, Japanese businesses often use English words in their names and advertising. Some make sense, others not much.

Car models are given English names that are often humorous to the native English speaker. There is Daihatsu with model names like "Naked", Charade, and Applause, for instance. Those three seem to belong together. The Nissan "Cube" lives up to its name with its boxy shape. Then there's the Honda "Life Dunk" which maybe should not be driven across bridges. Mitusbishi has the "New Aero Queen", for rockers maybe. Nissan the "March" (what you do when you run out of gas I suppose). For coffee lovers there is the Suzuki "Cappuccino", and beach goers might opt for the Toyota "Hilux Surf". A favorite of mine is an older model Toyota sedan called "Clef". I wonder what the "bass" price was and if it gave the owner any "treble". Sorry about that.

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Used Car Dealer "Lemon"

There are two businesses on the main highway near Kashima Jingu shrine. They are on opposite sides of the street, just a block apart. One is a used car dealer called "LEMON". The other is an auto mechanic shop called "BooBu".

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Bring your lemon to BooBu Total Car Pit

So if you need a used car, you might make a boo-boo and buy a lemon from "Lemon". If so, you can take it to "Boobu Total Car Pit" for repairs!

Happy motoring?


Happysurfer said...

Very amusing play of words. haha..

The Moody Minstrel said...

Before my "Life in the Land of the Rising Sun" series became a blog I used to send the stories out as mass e-mails. One of them was entitled "Let's talk about SECs (Stupid English Catchphrases)" and it was full of things I'd seen here that had ironic English names or used really stupid or mistaken English slogans. I believe "Lemon" Used Cars was included. I got a lot of good responses for that story. Maybe I should look for it and post it on my blog as an encore.

Pandabonium said...

thanks happysurfer

I'd like to read that Moody.

YD said...


Let's hear the next car called "Ang-ku-ku" or "Ku-chi-ku-chi"!

Pandabonium said...

YD - like tickling a baby and saying kuchi kuchi koo?
transaltions please :^)

YD said...

kuchi kuchi koo!
ang koo koo...
ar-- brrwwww!

(hey i m a linguist!)