Detour- 14 Signs from Asia
Do you get my meaning?

I love to look at the public signs when I travel. Asian countries provide a hot bed for this activity - especially since characters are the rule of the day so their is no "translation" - just the picture. I like to see if something is obvious to me and what isn't - it's cultural and also contextual.  I'm fascinated with the artists command of user interfaces in trying to convey some universal request or warning. I also wonder if Asian travelers visiting the US read characters on our multilingual signs and have the same experience. Does someone in Asia have a web site with pictures of the fascinating signs they saw while visiting the Grand Canyon, NYC or Vegas?!


Seen over an expressway in Beijing -from left to right - the first one, easy- no busses. The second, no horns, the third 70 km/hr max, the fourth- ummm no exploding (or enlightend) car roofs? Beats me, but with the traffic they have - I can see
people exploding out the roof of their cars- very impolite.


This is the don't do ANYTHING sign. It was in Beijing in front of one of the gates (a large building w/a garden around it) that leads to the Forbidden City. What I don't get is the last one in the third row. No riffles - um really? Wow - I was thinking I'd roller blade over and play some soccer, then do a little shooting here in front of the gate! Moreover - no one has guns in China - except the army. Private citizens are forbidden to own guns in China, so why would they need to tell you NOT to bring your gun here?


Seen in Hong Kong at a cross walk stop... watch out for that disco favorite, the bump!



In the Hong Kong subway, from top to bottom, no smoking, no explosives/skulls, kitty = no pets or
don't pet the cat (who would take a cat on a  subway?),  then we have "no balloon"
but clearly this must be near the DISNEY Hong Kong station...
what harm does a Mickey Mouse balloon do in a subway?


Electric hands get hot and cause crying? This sign was seen in a Japanese elevator. It's telling us,
don't put your hands in front of the doors when the doors begin to close- and they are not kidding!


Outside the fish market in Japan.
Do not feed kitty your exasperated left over dead fish one eye boy
- he'll rip off your legs... and box kitty up!


No running into the bikes please. Taken in front of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.


I always take my skis with me when I travel on the subway in Tokyo -
but I know better then to lean them on the doors!


Mind the step - and don't forget to wear a belt! As seen in Hong Kong.


Lean on the grassy hill and stick your feet in the water...
um not really -perhaps, if you don't wear a belt
you might slip on this slope. At the park in Guangzhou, China.


Please do it at home because no one wants to sit next to a slob!
This was in the Tokyo subway. I never saw a single Japanese person do anything impolite in the subway.
They don't talk on their cell phones (they do text message), they don't eat, drink or chew gum there,
they don't put on their make-up and they offer seats to the elderly. It's wonderful and the cars are clean.
The only time I saw anyone doing something odd on the subway,
it was two foreigners opening up a big map to figure out where they were, oh that was us! ;-)


Do not drive tiredly - warns this Beijing street sign.
If there was no English translation below the characters,
I might have thought - hmm this driving is so boring...


In the Yangshou bus station -A reminder not to drive drunk either!
Or fall asleep, or have a heart attack, or three fingers on the bottle, or let your bottle hang out the window?


My all time favorite -as seen in a Japanese department store,
which isn't really so much user interface sign as a total loss in translation.
You've got to admit - it's pretty funny to find a store named "Love Girls Market"
but it is also right next door to the "baby Shoop" store!


Moving along now you can go onto
Hello Chairman Mao! or Back to Home