Whoops. So, last night as the rest of the world was letting out a collective ho-hum while watching Apple’s keynote, the response to the iPhone-5-that-wasn’t in Japan was altogether more spirited. The reason? While ‘Siri’ to us means Apple’s creepy new virtual assistant, dutifully setting alarms and answering questions about the day’s weather, in Japan the Twitterverse was erupting with Japanese Apple fans noting that Siri (or Shiri) means “ass” in Japanese.
We double-checked this with our resident Japanese speaker who confirmed via text “it’s more informal. “Oshiri” is more formal, but yes, it does mean ass.” We are equal parts surprised and delighted that no-one at Apple thought to check this before unleashing ass upon the Japanese people.
The word “shiri” is reportedly so common that Japanese Apple fans just trying to keep up with the iPhone launch were being asked by Google’s auto-correct if they meant “shiri” rather than “Siri” while searching. An irritation, to be sure, but our sympathy lies with the people who will be genuinely searching for ass on their iPhone 4S only to be asked if they’d like to make dinner reservations or book a holiday.
Source: Wall Street Journal