It was raining today, and the trains were practically deserted. I’m not sure if there was a connection, but I had four seats to myself this morning when I rarely have one.

As it happened, I was late for work again this morning. It wasn’t my fault, either. Despite all my effort to get to the station in time to catch the early train that I have to take on Wednesdays, it was delayed. It seems that the delay was caused by a dog on the track at Sakaisuji-Hommachi station. I’d say, just drive over the damn cur, but my attitude to animals obviously isn’t shared by the subway staff.

In the end, it didn’t make too much difference; I was only a couple of minutes late, and no one missed me. And I suppose—although I don’t know—that the dog escaped unharmed.

I may be undisturbed by the indiscriminate slaughter of animals, but when it comes to language I can’t stand idly by. And how they abuse, torture and murder the English language in Japan!

But of all the sins committed, the single word that I find the most egregious is “heartful.” I mean, it’s not even an English word, is it? (Just try searching for the word on Google—I found only Japanese links in the first few pages of results with two emetically sentimental exceptions.) Most of all, how did it come to be such a commonly used word in Japan—so common, in fact, that no one realises that it isn’t really an English word?

It’s common to find a phrase such as “heartful communication” on an advertisement. Occasionally, some variation creeps in: “heart-ful,” “heart full,” or some other permutation. Dreadful stuff—it makes the average company’s mission statement seem like Nietzsche.

Continuing on the theme of bad English, I spotted a disturbing garment yesterday.

If one were to see someone wearing a shirt with “SLIT” printed in big capital letters across the front, there is a chance that one might call to mind the straightforward, regular meaning. If the person wearing said shirt was a ten year old girl, then one would be arguably even less likely to ascribe any colloquial sexual meaning to it (with the obvious exception of rock stars and politicians).

On the shirt that I saw yesterday, however, any ambiguity was evaporated by the explanatory caption beneath: “sexual indication.”

What the hell? Who actually designs these garments? The usual garbled meaningless captions are bad enough, but that kind of thing just ought not to be on children’s clothing. The designers, manufacturers and importers surely have a moral responsibility to ensure the appropriateness of the words they print on children’s apparel, to understand the meaning of them. Exotic is fine. Erotic isn’t!