Why Does Engrish Happen? is back with a look at what seems to be where Sailor Moon would park her car.

Engrish, poorly translated Japanese-to-English text, is a consistent source of amusement for English-speaking foreign residents and travelers in Japan. Sometimes, though, Engrish is so bombastically off the mark that even native Japanese citizens can’t help chuckling.

Twitter user @BLINK1_16 was recently walking through a station at an undisclosed location somewhere in Japan. Mixed in with mundane signage pointing out directions to specific tracks or exits was nothing less than a call to destiny.


“The moon ultra parking is being recruited,” read the proclamation, an announcement of significance seemingly far beyond its understated English font. But while Japan may be the birthplace of Sailor Moon, parking lots here don’t double as sign-up spots for magical girl teams, so what’s really going on with this sign?

Written above the Engrish is:

Right off the bat we’ve got 月, pronounced tsuki by itself, which does, indeed, mean “moon.” And right after that we’ve got 極, kyoku, which means “extreme,” so “ultra” isn’t an entirely off-base English rendering either.

However, in Japanese 月 can also be used to mean “month” (because there’s one full moon per month, which is also why the English words “moon” and “month” sound so similar). Likewise, 極 can also mean “pole” (as in 北極/hokkyoku, “North Pole”), implying the furthermost position or condition, and, by extension, a limit or ending.

So when you put 月 and 極 together, they become tsukigime, effectively meaning “limited at the month,” or, to phrase it more naturally, “monthly.”

With that cleared up, the rest of the real meaning for 月極駐車募集中, which is pronounced tsukigime chuusha boshuu chuu, falls into place pretty easily. 駐車/chuusha means “parking,” 募集/boshuu means “recruiting,” and 中/chuu, in this usage, means “currently.” Put it all together, and, literally, we’ve got “Currently recruiting for monthly parking,” and a final bit of polish to make that sound more natural in English would result in “Applications now being accepted for monthly parking spaces.”

▼ Granted, if the parking spaces are outside, and you’ve got a cool car, you could still argue that it’s “moon ultra parking” once the sun goes down.

As usual with Engrish, the cause of the problem seems to be a blind reliance on automated translation, as one commenter found that plugging 月極駐車募集中 into Japanese Internet portal Excite’s Japanese-to-English translator spits back, word for word, what @BLINK1_16 saw on the sign.

But, as is also often the case, the station still deserves a bit of credit for the attempt. It wasn’t so long ago that most public signage in Japan didn’t even try to provide non-Japanese notifications, and even if this one failed to convey its message, it still provided a few laughs, and at least this time no one got in trouble with the law.

Source: Twitter/@BLINK1_16 via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@BLINK1_16
Top image: Pakutaso
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he makes no secret of his love of linguistics and cars.