Oh DJ Chimp Robo - Appear!

The next installment in the AKIPA 'mutant english' collection: DJ Chimp Robo - Appear! Our hero has been called by the city with a 'bat signal', in his case the word Appear emblazoned in cheesy cursive above their rather lame skyline. Note the fighter escort though, which if nothing else gives you a great sense of scale. And of course we have the now classic fox sidekick - why do all DJ chimp robot heroes have a fox sidekick? Good question.

Looks like DJ Chimp Robo already has his battlebot ready for action, with fists raised and laser javelins(?) at the ready. I'm guessing he has some serious decks and potent loops queued up inside his DJ fishbowl; and check out those mad headphones. Let's get a sample of his hard hitting tracks, sure to strike fear in the heart of... well... whoever dares do battle with a robot commanding DJ chimp!

Ohohohoh - DJ Chimp Robo! - wiki wiki wiki - DDDDDJ chimp chimpity chimp - wiki wiki wiki - roboroborobo - app- app -appear- wiki wiki wiki - ROBO!

MONEY MAN = NAM YENOM = Mummy?

This is another t-shirt from AKIPA. I have to say this is one of the most surreal I've ever encountered. First off 'Money Man' is also a mummy (Mummy Man)? This is a either a bad mistranslation or a stunning play on words (well, it is for a knockoff t-shirt designer at least). I don't know what to make of the bright red slashes around his mouth - bloodstains? But more bizarre perhaps than the money/mummy synthesis is the backwards spelling of his name across his chest. This would read correctly in your rearview mirror, just like 'ECNALUBMA' for AMBULANCE. Soooo... he spends a a lot of time running in traffic?

So many unsettling questions. Why is he a mummy? Why are his hands green under the bandages? Do the bandages hold in his money, or is he made of money? Why is he wearing a trucker hat? My head hurts...

Skyhop L. Bear is NOT a Vehicle

This is a t-shirt from AKIPA, a department store in Tai Koo Shing. They have a wide variety of 'faux english' clothing, but I only managed to get a few shots before I was approached by a rude plainclothes security guard. Having a Chinese store detective lecture me on copyright infringement truly made my day. I asked him where the sign that said photography is forbidden was, and he literally pointed at a blank section of wall and grunted 'there'. I thought at the time he was trying to keep me from stealing their precious language mutilations, but I realized later that he probably thought I was taking photos as evidence of their copyright violations. Oh well, I did get a few real doozies, like this one, which reads:

Skyhop: L.Bear Soda Imitation Flavor (I guess they couldn't get ahold of an authentic L. Bear, though they did get the colors right at least) - ! Attention - Please without melting it - Please do not throw out - Please do not get on - It is not a vehicle.

So you kids at home remember - do not to try to ride your Skyhop L. Bear ice cream pop under any circumstances.

The Sumptuous Delights of Paw Palace

These are some the sumptuous spa treatments available at the Paw Palace in Causeway Bay. Quite the majestic logo by the way, cleverly incorporating the paw in to the crown - nice work. Our little Princess can start with clay pack therapy (I actually felt sorry for that terrier, doesn't look like much fun). Then its time for a microbubble jacuzzi bath (normal 'macrobubbles' are for peasants), and then finally some hair extensions for that 'Christina Aquilera Skank' look that's all the rage this season.





Hong Kong Funky Dance Centre

This is a billboard for The Hong Kong Funky Dance Centre in Wanchai. Every metropolis worth its 'funk' should have a locus for cutting edge (choking edge?) funky dancing. This place radiates funky energy; I found myself pop-and-locking and flashing faux gang signs just looking at the signage from three blocks away. Thankfully the centre is miles away from the lesser known but still potent 'Hong Kong Polka Dance Centre', otherwise the two styles would annihilate each other on contact. Believe me you don't want to be in the vicinity when a chicken dancer and pop-and-locker physically touch...

As you can see, the most prominent strains of funky dance are represented; just check out that funkity funk crew. For the men there's funky ballroom (note the suave turtleneck), hip-hop badass (must be tough to dance in a wool hat in HK, but funky dance knows no pain - and takes no prisoners), and music video/solid gold dancer (with complimentary frosted highlights). And for the ladies, err, well it looks like they get ballroom midriff, hiphop midriff, or solid gold midriff.

The Brutally Honest Wedding Dress

This is yet another bank ad in Central. I was obviously struck by the wedding dress, which is composed entirely of $100 HKD bills. Wow that's a serious train, but god it must weigh a ton (and smell awful, as anyone who's ever gotten a stack of cash from an ATM can attest).

Not to be overly cynical, but this is may well be the most brutally honest wedding dress ever made: hell just take out the cash and sew it all together, probably cheaper than actually purchasing and fitting a designer dress. It definitely calls in to question some of the other wedding expenses. In lieu of catering, why not put $50 USD at each place setting? Or why not have the father of the bride just hand out cash directly at the banquet? It does have one distinct advantage over a traditional gown though; rather than collect dust in the attic, you can keep this one handy, and simply snip off a few bills for groceries and utilities as necessary. Just try passing swatches of rhinestoned satin at the supermarket.

Untitled, or Raisins No. 3 (I Hope)

This is a sculpture outside a popular bakery in Happy Valley. I desperately looked for, but failed to find, a plaque indicating artist and/or title; I assume it has a typical title for ambiguous modern art, like 'Untitled', or 'Raisins No. 3'. I fervently hope these are meant to be nuggets of kneaded bread, or raisins, or even boulders. Anything but what they actually look like...

That's Crime Prevenient Specialist Andraw Cruz, Sr. To You, Pal

I usually refrain from taking pictures of people, and rarely do so without their permission, but I rode behind this gentleman on a long escalator, and became entranced with his faux NYPD hoodie. Not only is he sporting some hard-hitting urban fashion, but he gets serious extra points for the truly unrivaled level of detail, even if he's got a few misspellings. He's got Officer Cruz's full name (should be 'andrew' I'll wager), honorific, rank, ('prevenient' isnt' a word), address, precinct, even a fax number. I wonder what he thinks as he dons his precious adornment: Eat this you lame-ass amateurs, with your pathetic NYPE trucker hats. I have actual Brooklyn phone numbers, goddammit - Hell I could send a fax to my homie in NYC right now - thats what homies like myself call New York City... yes that New York, located in New York Lower State, US of A. Word. Word and numbers. Piece.

Oh Tango Mannequin, You Will Be Mine

This is one of the first photos I took here in HK. Its from the window display of a British kitchen appliance chain. I had assumed this was a noble but misguided attempt by management to lure in prospective buyers, but the tag line and the rather bizarre 'dance partner' theme are actually baumatic's official branding, so in their defense the locals were obligated to go with it. These are the most 'intentionally' ugly appliances I've ever seen; sharp edged, utilitarian boxes in bright color options, like soviet era washing machines given a fresh coat of loud paint. Needless to say I like the fire-breathing piranha logo and odd tango poster, but I love the authentically dressed anatomic figures. Oh tango mannequin, you will be mine.

Bla Bla Bra (keep a little secret)

This is a lingerie store in Mongkok. Not the most inspiring name for a brand, even if you give them credit for alliteration. They did spend some time on the logo - note the subtle 'speaking cloud' in the a of 'bra'. I don't recall ever seeing a mascot for bras before, let alone two - and definitely not one with a male version. In fairness I didn't get a look inside, so perhaps they have line of men's underwear (though having 'bra' in your name wouldn't bring in most men, unless you changed it too 'bbb homme' or something similar). I can think of only two reasons you'd have a male lingerie based entity; a) for breeding purposes, or b) to attract a cross-dressing clientele. Maybe that's what the 'little secret' is?

Choking Edge, Want Me Sexy!!

This is sign for a hipster apparel line originating in Taiwan. I had some difficulty deciding whether to file this under 'fashionique' or 'super english force', but in the end had to go with verbiage over fashion. Initially I was only going to post this street sign, as the name 'choking edge' for - well, for anything really - is pure genius. I have no idea what the background texture is supposed to be; my best guess is tree bark. Choking, edges and bark don't seem to have much in common to me, but obviously I'm not hip, edgy or barky enough.



Then - out of morbid curiosity if nothing else - I checked out their website, and beheld this opening page.



Yow. Suffice it to say I felt it necessary to censor the image a wee bit, though I love the bold tag line - Want Me Sexy!! - not a question but a demand. I believe ZETETIC (the present in spirit) is their flagship brand, with shirts, hats and other fashionique items available. I was unable to decipher what 'ZETETIC' is an acronym for, though it certainly sounds choky and edgy. Unfortunately I couldn't navigate the site very well, but I did manage to see some of the other merchandise. My favorite is the 'I heart choking edge' assortment. Hell who doesn't?


True Fashionistas Know Scientific Names

This is a poster for Kwanpen crocodile skin bags at (yet another) high-end purse boutique in HK. I was struck by their inclusion of the crocodile's scientific name; somehow I don't think that your average fashionista is aware of the binomial nomenclature for her $5000 USD bag, but then again maybe that's whats separates the truly discerning shopper from the riffraff. Can you imagine being seen with a bag made from Crocodylus Australis? Oh the raised eyebrows would be unbearable...

The BOSS of Them ALL

These are some vending machines in Kyoto. A great tag line - 'boss of them all since 1992'. Like most people, I was unaware that coffee had a boss, or that this was in dispute as recently as 1991. I Also love the choice of logo; a combination of John Steinbeck and some anonymous but determined British WWII general. Here are some of their more famous products: Bossccino, Bosspresso, Boss Calorie Off, Boss Double Black, Boss Rainbow Mountain Blend, Boss Begin!, Boss W.E.B. (World Executive Blend), Boss Silky Black and The Espresso. These all come in either cold or heated options. I've never seen a 'hot' vending machine in the US, but then again people don't generally buy canned coffee there either. Still its quite a lineup. I'm personally torn between Boss Begin! and Bosspresso.

And the mugshot of Tommy Lee Jones, their latest spokesman, is perfect - a mixture of world weary 'don't f**k with me' scowl and crumpled hangover. Again I was unaware that on top of his hectic acting career, Tommy had devoted himself to being Coffee Boss. He looks like it has taken a serious toll on him; alas 'heavy hangs the head that smokes the pipe'.

Modern Toilet Restaurant. Really.

I was going to refrain from another 'scatological' post for a while, but I stumbled on this restaurant sign in Mongkok and had to post it. Apparently they've hit upon the brilliant idea of selling their sumptuous sundaes, chili - yes chili - and other treats in custom dishes that resemble toilets, bidets and urinals. They've also been kind enough to include symbols for both men's and ladies rooms, though I don't know if that means women can't order something in the urinal.

Honestly this is the worst presentation for food I've ever seen, easily surpassing those 'gross out' kiddie products made to look like snot and other bodily fluids. Who could eat a soft ice cream or spaghetti bolognese out of a toilet and ignore the connotation? And for the love of all that's holy, what do they call their masterpieces? The mind boggles...

.

...And I Shall Walk Upon the Waters With A Deadly Bunny Escort

One of the newer developments in HK, the soon-to-be-fabled 'Florient Rise'. The slogan exhorts us to go 'Above and Beyond' and 'Ride to the top of success'. And we shall ride upon a magic wallpaper(?) tube that unrolls before us as we stride across the harbor - with our cartoon bunny escort, who have separated from the 2D flower pattern and assumed 3D form (note their exquisitely rendered drop shadows). Oh they may look cute and cuddly, but those bunnies are in fact a deadly bodyguard detail, escorting those worthy of rising floriently.

Too ORANGEY for {PORN:

This is a hoodie worn by an unsuspecting mainlander near the Jade Market in Kowloon. Actually I'm just assuming she's from the mainland, as I can't imagine she knows what it says (or that her English speaking HK relatives would let her go out in it). I rarely take pictures of 'english butchering' t-shirts etc, but this one was simply too sublime to pass up. Unfortunately the photos didn't come out very well - It officially reads too ORANGEY for {PORN: I was especially taken by the addition of a bracket and colon, as if the phrase needed jazzed up any further.

Maybe she does know what it says after all, and just doesn't care. Or maybe she really is too orangey for porn.

Balls O' Fire Cubits

This is on the menu of Pierces, the chicken outfit that replaced 'Alien Potato Chips' and 'Bamboo Icy-Crispy Dragon Beard Candy'. Let's hope they have more success than their predecessors. One would think that something can't be a 'ball' and a 'cubit' simultaneously, but its trademarked, so they must know something we don't. I wonder if they employ quantum physicists at Pierces.

These guys claim to be a US franchise, though I've never heard of them; must be based in the South. I can't imagine 'cubits' competing well against 'mcnuggets', but who knows. They also show some appetizing footage of chickens being defeathered, racked and processed on a video monitor next to the cubits. I don't think it's usually a good idea to show butchering etc to the customers, though Hong Konger cubit-eaters will probably appreciate footage of clean poultry processing facilities far more than their US counterparts.

Now Thats a Martini

This is an ad near the onramp to Happy Valley, presumably showing a satisfied customer's online banking session. After a long day at work, our entrepreneur is settling back to check his rising account balances with a well deserved 'imperial phoenix sunset', his signature concoction. I''m guessing it involves at least one liter of vodka, a few pints of grenadine and melon liqeur, something fizzy, and a jigger of blue curacao. The man obviously knows how to mix a drink - just look at that masterful layering. I hope he doesn't start trading online after a few belts, or get alcohol poisoning and have to go to the ER again to get his stomach pumped. But maybe that's why he calls it the phoenix sunset...

Coziness You Have Never Enjoyed...

I stumbled on this product at a local HK grocer. I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. (Apologies for the obvious scatological humor, but I couldn't resist posting it - or should I say the urge to post it? The small print reads 'secret recipe from USA for bowel openings and complexion benefiting', though its unclear if it benefits you or your... hmm. Well I suppose if anything needs comforting - OK OK thats enough; this is going down a path that - OK OK that's enough).

Alien Potato Chips

This was a very short-lived shop in Times Square, ironically located in the same booth that 'Bamboo Icy-Crispy Dragon Beard Candy' occupied. I guess the feng-shui here is particularly bad, because one would think that dragon beard candy or alien chips would be surefire moneymakers.

It seems the aliens hit upon a way of skewering and spiral-cutting a whole potato, then deep frying the whole magilla. If only we could utilize this alien technology for other fast foods, like a spiral cut chicken leg or pizza slice. I have to admit they actually looked pretty tasty, though I imagine you'd really regret it about halfway through, as you realize you're eating the equivalent of a jumbo bag of earth chips.

Even Monsters Need Their Morning Joe

This is a small anime/manga character that my someone gave my daughters. I have no idea who he is exactly; I assume he is one of the myriad pokemon/dragonball/pikachu villains, shrunk down to 'cute' size for the kiddies. There seem to be an endless supply of devil/skull faced guys on these shows, with odd names like piccolo or lord wednesday. I usually avoid pokemon like the plague, but I just had to include this little guy. Hey, even demonic mutants need a kickstart in the morning. I imagine he goes for the darker roasts.

Back to Basics - With a Beowulf Mastiff

This poster hangs outside the largest pet store in Happy Valley. It exhorts us to get 'back to basics', and what could be more basic than your very own 200 lb. beowulf mastiff. If your definition of 'basic' is 'pony-sized killing machine with a cinderblock sized head', then this is the breed for you.

P.A.W.S.

Contrary to popular belief in the US, Hong Kongers do not eat dogs, but In fact coddle and pamper them on a level unparalleled anywhere else (save perhaps rodeo drive or 5th avenue). Upscale dog spas and boutiques flourish here, as do dog only bakeries and salons. While yippie little pedigree dogs are still the rule, one still sees larger expensive breeds, especially in Happy Valley. There are malamutes and and pristine huskies, as well as the occasional afghan. Why anyone would subject a malamute - which is for all intents and purposes an arctic wolf - to a subtropical climate is beyond me, but then again people have no problem breeding shihtzus into noseless mutants. And of course dogs love nothing more than to be dressed in unbearably cute outfits, like the posh wedding couple below. Quite the fetching bride, to say nothing of the dapper bridegroom. I can't help but wonder what 'P.A.W.S.' stands for though. Pathetic Animal Worship Syndrome?