Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Ping-pong-lish has fans in a spin


For all the giant strides Japan has made in putting up signs nationwide to show foreign visitors what they should or should not do in temples, public baths and sports stadiums, it seems someone forgot about the world table tennis championships in Yokohama.

The English version of the official website for the tournament delightfully serves up “suitable assistance” guidelines for visiting fans.


“The national flag is prohibited from projecting,” it advises, although it helpfully offers a loophole, should the flag be in motion. “But the flag shake it by the hand is not restricted,” the website says, adding that “the whistle and drum are not restricted.”

Ping pong afficionados in possession of a whistle or a drum should note, however, that they must “obey instructions obediently.”