- Japan (07, 09-10, 13), Denmark (08, 11, 16-19), Korea (13), France (08), Thailand (09), China (10), Mexico (14, 15, 19), Iceland (17, 19), Hawaii (14, 17), Prague (16, 17, 19)
       The above will search this blog.


Don’t Eat! (taberuna or 食べるな or タベルナ)


You know how some things don’t translate? For instance, Gerber (baby food) supposedly means vomiting in French. Or the first time Coca Cola translated its name into Chinese it meant “bite the wax tadpole.” Well, the sign above is one I frequently saw while heading to the Takadanobaba Train Station in Tokyo. It says, “taberuna” which means “Don’t Eat!” in Japanese.

(A verb followed by na in Japanese means “don’t do the verb” in a rather abrupt way of speaking. Taberu means to eat. You wouldn’t want to use this grammar on a guest unless they were about to eat something poisonous.)

I was therefore surprised to discover that this business is none other than a restaurant!

Taverna Italian food restaurant in Takadanobaba

The name comes not from the Japanese of “don’t eat” but from the Italian Taverna which is pronounced as “don’t eat” in Japanese. Too funny and too ironic. Personally, I would have chosen a different name if I was going to open an Italian restaurant in Japan.

We ate there once. It was just OK. I won’t say don’t eat there, because the sign already does.

One Response to “Don’t Eat! (taberuna or 食べるな or タベルナ)”

  1. 1

    Actually it was not the Coca-Cola company, it was the Chinese shopkeepers who introduced that “interesting” translation.
    And yes, Gerber does mean “to vomit” in French, or, to be more precise, because it’s a quite colloquial expression, one would probably translate it as “to barf”. Well, if you take the texture of baby food into account… 😉

    The picture is really funny. People seldom take all the details of other languages into account when translating texts, but things like that are just hilarious.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin