What Does the Shirt Say?

November 4, 2017

Hey Everybody!

I think you guys all know what statement T-shirts are. They’re going to be my clothing staple when I get my wardrobe together, xD. Well, anyway, I’ve come to find that statement T-shirts are just as much of a thing here as they are in the west. The only problem is that those statements are in English, versus Japanese, Chinese, etc. And since most don’t understand English well enough to pick up on slang, inappropriateness or strange word choices… it can be a fun time when we English speakers spot a phrase that’s just a tad… off.

We can’t help being hyper-aware though! We are taught from a young age to be careful with what is written on what we wear. Any swearing, rude gestures, sensitive references, etc. on the shirt, is a big no-no. In fact, if you do own a shirt like this, you likely only bought it for “shits and giggles”, haha.

Look at this picture. This boy had to make his shirt “school appropriate”.


See what I mean?

So, it’s understandable when the English speakers at my school make a big deal of the hilarious shirt fails they spot, those stories having inevitably multiplied over the duration of my stay.

The “first sighting” was this shirt worn at school by a classmate of mine!



He didn’t quite understand why I asked to take a picture of his shirt. All I could say at the time was “omoshiroi”, which means interesting/funny in Japanese. Good luck trying to get away with that in an English language school, he probably wouldn’t even get away with “bish”!

Then there was also this other shirt an American friend of mine one day saw his old classmate wearing. It read “nothing doing”, instead of “doing nothing”. The wearer, as described by my friend, was blissfully unaware of the obvious grammatical error. But I imagine it was the same for all the other Chinese and Korean students, xD.

I feel like these statement-shirt-fails are kin to an inside joke shared by all English speakers, haha.

Unfortunately, I was alone when I spotted this beauty below on the train. Admittedly, it wasn’t a shirt-fail per-say…


Surely he knows it’s rude… right?

Anyway, there’s more.

I have this friend, my language school BFF, who is great at spotting “zing” people; those who look out of the ordinary or “gross”. This sixth sense extends to towards spotting messed up statement shirts as well. He swears that he saw this one Japanese girl wearing a shirt that said, “I Look Like Jesus”. And, another shirt he saw, had “New York, Manhattan Haters, Please Disperse”, written on it!

*imagines scenario where I shout “disperse!” at someone who’s just dissed me*

*gets punched*

But, I think one of my favourite statements is one I spotted when I went to my local city hall to register my moving into the area. While I was waiting, I saw this one guy, who I thought may have been Korean (more info on how to tell Asians apart, here), leaning back in his chair as he was talking to a staff member. All I could read from his position was “Property of…”, written on the back of his jacket. I waited until he sat up to reveal what I thought would say Korea or at least some kind of place. But, no.




I was like wow. He can’t possibly know what this is implying, xD.

I can’t wait to find more of these shirts 😊!

Until next time,








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