Finally! A clear manual...

Good morning everyone,

Did you survive the rain yesterday? I did! And actually, the timing couldn't have been better for me. It started after I got to work and finished before I headed home. Although, to be honest, it was a pretty chilly ride home. Today and tomorrow will both be warm and sunny with highs in the mid-20s and then we're looking at rain on Friday and Saturday before the sun comes out again on Sunday. All weekend will see highs around 25C. 

Anyone who has spent any length of time in Japan will tell you that onomatopoeia is not just common, but an integral part of the Japanese language. While English speakers might find sentences peppered with additional ‘sound effects’ somewhat inelegant, in Japanese onomatopoeic words are not only considered perfectly normal, but there are mimicking sounds for every possible occasion – including states of being where there is no sound to mimic – and most people know exactly how to write them.

We’d wager than few native Japanese have ever come across an instruction manual that uses mimicking words to explain potential problems with a washing machine, though…

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It might not seem unusual for the troubleshooting section of your washer’s manual to refer to certain sounds the machine might make during operation, but can you imagine finding the sentence, “If you hear ‘shaaaaaa‘ or ‘kiiiiiin‘ sounds emanating from your washing machine, you may need to replace the filter,” written in there?

This photo of a page from a washing machine manual lists every possible sound the washer might make, and offers up explanations for each of them. Listing zuzuzu, shaa, uooon, buuun, kiiin, and pokopoko, the manual explains what it is that the washer is doing at any one time.

Keep hearing “uooon” while washing a load of underpants? Not to worry, that’s just the pump kicking in, apparently…

Are your onomatopoeia skills up to the task of discerning what’s wrong with your washer? If you were standing with this manual in hand, listening to the machine’s various creaks, shrieks and groans, could you easily separate a buuun from a pokopoko? If there any words on this little list that you’d struggle to identify, well, don't ask me! I have no idea! I still can't tell the difference between the sounds it makes when it rains...ha ha! What's the difference between しとしと and ざーざー or ぽつぽつ or ぱらぱら? They all sound like 'rain' to me! Ha ha!

Have a great day! And don't call me if your washing machine is making funny sounds!

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