Information in the Wild Week 5: Basic signs at a Museum

Week Five!! If you don’t know what’s happening, main post here.
Links to the previous weeks can be found in the main post also.

  • Tldr: Quick daily practice of using real Japanese to understand and acquire information. The focus being on understanding what is being conveyed sufficiently to interact with or respond to it.

This week we will be looking at signs we may encounter at a museum. This museum has a number of outdoor exhibits so some of the signs will reflect that.

Since some of these signs have a picture and multiple languages, an experimental “advanced” version of the prompt where you produce the Japanese will be available.

The sign for both options is the same so do not unhide the normal version if you want to do the advanced version.

Day 1:


What is the sign telling us?

Advanced (Will reveal English portion)

What do you think the Japanese on the sign will be?

Day 2:


What are the guidelines?

Hint: ポケ〜っと

I am 99% sure this is a pun of ボケっと

Advanced (Will reveal English portion, may be a bit too experimental)

A bit more challenging than the last one :slight_smile:

Day 3:


Advanced (Will reveal English portion)

Day 4:


Two for one

Advanced (Will reveal English portion)

Day 5:


Day 5 nm
More quick signs

Advanced (Will reveal English portion)

day 5 ad
More quick signs with natural English

Day 6:


day 6 nm
Other half of the do not dos

Advanced (Will reveal English portion)

day 6 AD

Day 7:

No advanced version today but a sign too important to exclude

As of right now there likely will be second batch after the end of Week 6, if you have any feedback please share here or the main thread. :bowing_man:

Check in if you’re participating this week

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Sample Answers (Updated the following day)

Day 1
  • Please do not enter the grass area
  • Please do not enter
Day 2
  • This is a resting area with exhibits that all ages, from children to adult, are allowed to interact with.
  • Please relax and enjoy your time being surrounded by this pocket of art and the blue sky above.

Note: As said in the hint, quite sure that ポケっと is a pun of ぼけっと.

Day 3

No umbrellas permitted inside the gallery, please use the racks provided.

Copied from the sign which can be found under the Advanced tab.

Day 4
  • Please be careful not to drop your belongings
  • Please watch your step
Day 5
  • No photography
  • Please do not touch the works of art
  • Please refrain from eating and drinking

Copied from the sign which can be found under the Advanced tab.

Day 6
  • Please refrain from using your mobile phone
  • No umbrellas allowed inside the gallery
  • Please remove your raincoat

Copied from the sign which can be found under the Advanced tab.

Day 7

Young children may fall from the railing, please do not sit them there.

Since the signs for both the normal and advanced prompts are the same, the normal picture will act as the sample answer for the advanced one.

Suggested format for posting your answers
Will make it easier to distinguish from questions and discussions


Fantastic! A double challenge this week! I’ll definitely be sticking with the first challenge, JP to English, but it’ll be fascinating to see how other people translate in the other direction. Thanks again so much @ThousandJP for such a brilliant project!

Day one

What is the sign telling us?


芝生 - lawn, grass
に - ‘end-point of an action’ particle
入らない - negative form of 入る, to enter
でください - please don’t (Verb[ないで]+ ください)

Please keep off the grass

Day two

What are the guidelines?


この場所は - this area
こどもからオトナまで - from children to adults
体験 - たいけん - practical experience
できる - can
作品を - さくひんを - artworks + object marker
展示 - てんじ - exhibition
した - did
休憩 - きゅうけい - rest
エリア - area
です - polite ending

This area is a place where everyone from children to adults experience art and rest (but keep off the grass)

頭上に広がる青空と、アートに包まれたポケットで ポケ~っとお過ごしください

頭上に - ずじょうに - overhead + particle
広がる - ひろがる - to spread
青空 - おあぞら - blue sky
と -
アート - art
に - particle
包まれた - つつまれた - wrapped up
ポケットで - in a pocket
ポケ - poke?
~っと -
お過ごしください - おすごしください - please spend time

Please spend time here poking around a pocket of art under the blue sky (but keep off the grass!!!)

Day three


傘 - かさ - umbrella/s
の - particle
持ち込み - もちこみ - carry-on
は - topic particle
できません - can not

Lit: you can’t carry in umbrellas
Ie: umbrellas are not allowed


傘立て - かさたて - umbrella stand
を - object marker
ご利用ください - ごりようください - please use

Please use (this) umbrella stand

Day four

手荷物から手を はなさないでください

手荷物 - hand luggage
から - from
手 - て, hand/s
を - object particle
はなさ - let go
ないでください - please don’t

Please don’t release your hands from your hand luggage!
Please keep hold of your belongings.


足元に - あしもと, one’s step + particle
ご注意ください - ごちゅういください, please heed

Please watch your step

Day five

Japan sure loves signs telling you what you can’t do!


撮影 - さつえい - photography
は - topic particle
できません - can’t

No photography allowed


作品には - さくひん, artworks + には particles
触れないでください - ふれないでください - please don’t touch

Please don’t touch the artworks


飲食 - いんしょく - food and drink
の - particle
持ち込みは - もちこみは - bring your own + topic particle
できません - can’t

Bringing in food and drink is not allowed

And you’ll be constantly scrutinized to make sure you obey!

Day six

:iphone: :no_good_man:

:closed_umbrella: :no_good_man:

:coat: :no_good_man:

Day seven

It is often said by long-term non-Japanese residents in Japan that the constant signs telling people what they can’t do, the constant warnings over all the things that are “危ない”, the constant presence of security staff and the like, has the effect of treating people like children.

I think all these signs are actually in place because companies want to cover their backs in case things go wrong, and I suspect this is a trend that growing way beyond Japan. But yes, it can reach the most ridiculous limits, as we can see here.

Please be careful not to let small children fall.

A warning I’m sure every parent appreciates!

Or perhaps I ought to put my sarcasm aside. Perhaps it says “Please be careful of small children falling” and it is very necessary sign given the amount of people injured over the last year when babies fell on them!

Nice find @ThousandJP !


Been on holiday for a week or so, but back on board now. Thanks for the effort ThousandJP

Day 1

Please do not enter the grass

Advanced: So I looked at the normal first thinking I would do both ‘questions’ but then it gave away the advanced one.
Ignoring that, I would have said something like: 草に立入禁止, or 草に入らないでください (only because it specially says ‘Do not ENTER the grass’

Day 2


That was ridiculous, my answer is a sham :sweat_smile: I should have gone with the normal version today haha. There was so much ‘fluff’ in the English sentence that I just couldn’t work out how to express that at all.

Day 3


ok that one was much better, I could actually write it all based on current knowledge. Little more confident now :grinning:

Day 4



This is always an ongoing issue with producing content considering the large differences in how words are used or things are expressed. My Japanese sentences yesterday and today may have sounded reasonable ‘in English’, but how do they sound to a native Japanese speaker? then multiply this by 100 when trying to have a conversation.

Day 6


For the umbrella, I went to write something like:美術館の中で傘が許しません again, but then realized we had this one earlier and there was another word for it, so I looked it up and wrote the middle one instead. (so, I either cheated or solidified a newly learnt word :man_shrugging: :grin: ,or both)


This is fantastic. I’m going to try my hand at the advanced version this week.

If the sign for both options is the same does that mean the normal can also be an answer key for the advanced?

Day 1

It could be a few different things and I don’t know if the Japanese actually mentions the grass specifically, but I’m going to go with the all-purpose 立ち入り禁止 (keep off/no trespassing/off limits).

Day 2

I decided not to worry about whether or not what I wrote matched the sign exactly, and instead focused on producing Japanese that captured the spirit of the English text. Because this is not about getting a perfect score, it is about trying.


この青空の下美術で飾ったアウトドアスペースをご楽しんでください。(Or「 〜ご自由に利用してください。」)


  • I was going to put 像 for sculpture, but I know that just means statue and it’s not quite what we are going for. So I looked up that word.

  • The only word I could think of for pleasant was 快い, but the word I was looking for was 快適 or maybe 愉快.

  • I didn’t want to use 飾る twice, and couldn’t think of a word for dotted, so I put 飾る in there and looked up the word for display that I was blanking on.

@ThousandJP After recording my answer and looking at the Japanese sign, I was happy to see that I used some of the same key words like 展示, 体験, and 青空.

Day 3

I tried this two ways, one using the word prohibited, and the other with a more “please don’t bring umbrellas into the gallery” flavor.


And with dictionary assistance:


  • The first word I thought of for gallery was 陳列, which isn’t quite right. Consulting the dictionary I think either ギャーラリ or 陳列棟 might work better.

  • I used the 棚, but thinking it means something closer to shelf, then I took a look at the dictionary and I guess it can mean rack as well. Also, ラック might work too.

  • Initially I didn’t modify the noun 棚 but I think adding 備わる improves the nuance.

UGH. I didn’t even think to use 傘立, ご利用, or 持ち込む. It’s always interesting to me how the English versions are modified to sound more natural to English speakers. In this case the Japanese portion does not include the words inside, gallery, permitted, rack, or provided.

Day 4




  • I put 荷物 first. I didn’t think that was quite right, and used the dictionary to find 持ち物.

Not bad today. Looks like I was on the right track with 荷物 after all. Didn’t think to go quite so literal (手からはなさないで). For the second sentence ご注意 is the better choice. I always think of 気をつけて first though.

Day 5





  • No lookups today.

I’m happy with what I came up with today. And now I know the word 飲食. 持ち込みはできません wouldn’t have suggested “please refrain” to me. If I’d tried to translate that I’d have written something like “you can’t bring food or drink inside” like the sign on Day 3.

And I’m curious now about the use of できない vs. 禁止. I guess 禁止 would be a more authoritative prohibition while できない has a softer nuance? And I think I should have put してください after ように to make it more polite.

Side note: As a writer I pay a lot of attention to word choice and nuance, and when I began learning Japanese those choices were very limited. With an expanded vocabulary and more focus on grammar, I’m beginning to feel like I have many more choices to express what I want to say more accurately.

Day 6




Very close today! And no lookups! And it took less than five minutes! Should have gotten the お脱ぎ though.

Day 7

Please be careful (caution) of your small child falling.

(Please don’t sit small children up here, they could fall.)


Yeah. Maybe not necessarily vice versa though.


Yeah this one probably wasn’t very fair :sweat_smile:
The rest of them will be a bit more normal.


But you tried, that’s what’s important. And I think you did well.


Thank you! Took me like 20 minutes to write two sentences though :sweat_smile:


And I’m sure a while ago it would have taken you 40 minutes. いつの日か it will take you 10分. And maybe on a day not too far into the 近い未来に、五分でできます。(See what I did there? :wink: )


I thought this sign was an example that illustrated the difference between Japanese and English quite well especially because the English was quite natural.

The context is identical since it is on the same sign but it would be difficult to come up with an English version without the word “gallery” without it feeling it a bit incomplete. Similarly if we remove the word “provided” in English the tone, to me, would feel rougher and may not reflect the intended level of hospitality. In contrast, specifying specifically that it was provided in Japanese may not have a desirable effect.


That was my thought exactly. I’ve interacted with plenty of media in which the subtitles did not really capture the spirit of what was being said. On this sign both sentences work so well together and sound so natural.


I think you did just fine. And not just because you wrote more or less the same thing I did. :wink:


wow they really are almost the same. Perfect example regarding what we just commented previously, and how the ‘English speaking’ mind thinks.

気をつけてください is certainly my go-to as well for “be careful” or “watch out”


Me too. When I see 注意 I think “caution”.


What I loved most was that people actually heeded those signs. In the subway they all walk on the correct side, they line up in an orderly fashion to get on buses or trains, they don’t throw trash in the street, there’s aren’t random people smoking everywhere you go, and everything is SO CLEAN.

In New York City signs like that seem to be more like “suggestions”. Thinking of people always going down the stairs the wrong way (like people are coming up the stairs, why are you trying to fight through them?), shoving their way onto trains before the people have even had a chance to get off, or throwing trash on the train tracks despite all the “trash on the tracks cause fires” signs. Oh and at Disney World, fighting with the staff about “I can smoke wherever I want.”


To an extent. The signs in every station say to stand on both sides of the escalator, but no one does. The orderly line breaks down in the rush for a seat on a packed commuter train. There are LOTS of people, far too many, smoking in the parks and streets I go to. And don’t get me started about the mattresses and washing machines that get dumped in the little stream near where we live. But yes, compared to many other places, you are absolutely right!


This is like how a woman spilled hot coffee in her lap and burned herself (because she was in her car holding the coffee cup between her legs) and then sued McDonald’s in 1994 ? And won a boatload of money? And now there are warnings on EVERYTHING like … don’t use a hair dryer in the bathtub or while sleeping? Or on an iron… do not iron clothes on body? Or on a washing machine…do not put any person in this washer. (Though to be fair my younger brothers once tried to go for a ride in the dryer so maybe that one should be there. :sweat_smile:)

Here’s some more super fun ones:


Fun link! I liked the one warning people not to hold the wrong end of a chainsaw! :joy:


Still very late getting to these threads - sorry!
Definitely taking the approach here of benchmarking my “raw” understanding… No “Advanced” sections for me!
It will be great to come back to these threads (or similar ones) after I’ve been learning for a while, to see my progress. Well, hopefully!

Day 1

Please do not enter this area.

Day 2

In this area everyone from children to adults can experience… something… and it’s a rest area.
With the blue sky around and above your head… something to do with pockets and art.
I think I must have really misunderstood something here, or it’s all rather ‘conceptual’!

Day 3

Don’t come in holding your umbrella. Please use the umbrella stand!

Day 4

Please don’t release your handheld things from your hands.
Please be careful of your footing.

Day 5

You can’t take photos.
Please don’t touch the objects.
Please don’t come in with food or drink.

Day 6

You can’t talk through your mobile phone.
You can’t come in holding your umbrella.
As for raincoats… please something (presumably remove them!).

Day 7

Please be cautious of your small child falling.