Saturday, March 25, 2006

Medicinal Rubber Mallet

Here's my mother-in-law's Chinese medicinal rubber mallet. It works, to the extent that it really does anything at all, on the same principle as acupressure. You're supposed to whack certain spots under your feet with the mallet to achieve sundry health benefits.

This is a pretty far-out artefact in itself. But look at the inscription. According to my wife, it says Zu chang le guo yitang, "Foot long happy realm art-hall". This makes no sense whatsoever to me: not the Chinese characters, not the pinyin transcription, not the English translation.

But fear not, Dear Reader: my wife can explain it all.

The mallet has been issued by an art hall, that is, a salon. This salon is named Realm of Feet that are Happy for a Long Time, which is of course more economically written Foot Long Happy Realm.

This reminds me of the Wan Tu Su Li franchise in China. I think it's a fast food or photo processing chain. The name means Ten-thousand Rabbit Quick Beautiful, which can be understood as "Ten thousand rabbits quickly become beautiful". What kind of acid freak name is that? Well, their logo features the figures 1-2-3. One -- two -- three. Wan -- tu -- suli.

Yoda help me, but I'm beginning to understand why Engrish looks the way it does.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A mother-in-law, armed and dangerous :)

25 March, 2006 22:51  
Blogger Martha said...

This makes me think of automatic writing! Or maybe Gertrude Stein? The Chinese language must be more fundamentally poetic than English.

26 March, 2006 23:27  
Blogger Martin said...

Chinese is basically one big pun. Many words are distinguished only by inflection, and not a few are entirely homonymic. This means that in conversation, people often have to write Chinese characters on their palms to get thir message across. And there's endless room for creative misunderstanding.

27 March, 2006 09:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting mallet. I do reflexology and acupressure. Would certainly be interested to know how the mallet is actually used. Pressure? Percussion? Both? You see, I like to make feet happy too.
Ciao for now,
Wabun. Canada

24 August, 2006 02:04  
Blogger Martin said...

I can't really say how it's used. All I know is my mother-in-law jettisoned it before leaving Sweden for China. Maybe she wasn't satisfied with its effect?

24 August, 2006 09:02  

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