Pain and Beauty, Together At Last

If there was ever any doubt about the connection between physical discomfort and aesthetic refinement, today you’ll see proof. As usual, it’s photographic evidence found on the streets of Japan. Not fashion photos, nor shoes. What am I talking about?

A clinic in the Kokura shopping arcades, of course.

signage belonging to the Pain & Beauty Clinic in Kokura

In case the English text is too small to read, it says “Pain & Beauty Clinic.” I’m sure the Japanese is more accurate. I don’t know what the leftmost four small characters mean as a group, but the first two can be read as “middle way.” The big ones translate as “Medical Club.” Which gives us “Middle of the Road something something Medical Club.” Someone’s grandpa must’ve come up with that one. It’s a name that seems fitting for a clinic that professes to dish out pain. Not sure where the beauty part fits in.

Note the cigarette vending machine in front.

Given enough brain power, I could probably come up with some witty commentary about the sad state of English usage in Japan. But I’ve been chronically short of brain cells recently so I won’t. Actually, the lack of brain probably started a long time ago—perhaps even at birth—but most people have been polite enough to not bring it to my attention. Instead of wit, here’s a close-up of the sign.

detail of signage belonging to the Pain & Beauty Clinic in Kokura

And besides, rather than being a misuse of English, the phrasing may in fact have been deliberately chosen to honestly describe the establishment’s services. A small triumph for truth in advertising, perhaps.

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