One day back in college, I was shopping for some clothes in Yamaguchi. I found a shirt that fit just right, but when I took it off and looked at the tag, I was surprised to see the size listed as “LA.” Curious, I asked the salesperson what it meant, and was told it was an abbreviation for “large athletic,” meaning it was cut for a person with large shoulders and a slim waist.

I’m not sure how much of that was really reflected in the design, but the unexpected written compliment put me in such a good mood I bought the shirt right away, and still have it to this day.

Of course, this sort of psychology can cut both ways, and I’m not sure how one Japanese clothing manufacturer expects to drum up sales by calling out its larger customers in the least delicate way.

For the most part, sizes in Japan are labeled pretty closely to how they are in English-speaking countries. Oftentimes small, medium, and large are referred to as simply S, M, and L, though.

Sizes at the far ends of the bell curve are named a little differently, too. For example, extra-small becomes double S, or sometimes S S. Usually, the opposite is true too, and if you need something larger than an L, you go looking for a double L.

Unless, that is, you’re dealing with this manufacturer.

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No, fat isn’t a Japanese word that means something other than obese, nor is it any kind of code or abbreviation we’ve ever heard of. This also isn’t a case of a tag that was printed long before online dictionaries made the definition of “fat” something that anyone could check for in 30 seconds, since the indicated 120 yen (US $1.18) of tax for the 1,500-yen item means it’s using the eight-percent rate that just went into effect in April.

The photo was originally uploaded to photo-sharing site Imgur, with the title “Japan doesn’t sugarcoat their clothing sizes.” Rest assured though that despite the painted-with-a-wide-brush phrasing, this really isn’t how clothing is usually labeled in Japan. Sadly, the photo doesn’t show the manufacturer’s name, which gives us no way to confirm whether or not the company’s smallest size is, in fact, “Wow, somebody needs a sandwich.”

Sources: Labaq, Imgur