Random suit

« previous post | next post »

Nathan Hopson bought this "rain suit" the other day:

Upon first glance, "random suit" sounded strange, but at the same time somehow familiar.

First of all, here's your "Random Suit Generator". And here's a "Random Suit Man" by Katros on DeviantArt. There are lots of "Random suit ideas" on Pinterest. And there's a "Random suit combo lol" on YouTube.

So there are plenty of "random suit this" and "random suit that" around, but what Nathan purchased is just a plain RANDOM SUIT!

Looking at the Japanese, it says:

randamu sūtsu ランダム スー ツ ("random suit")

Under that it says:

jōge setto 上下セット ("set with top and bottom")
danjo ken'yō 男女兼用 ("for use by men and women")

It would be just as well to say yunisekkusu ユニセックス ("unisex") for this.

Note from Nathan:

BTW, I just typed ユニセックス in Google Japanese Input and the first conversion option was 男女兼用. You have to dig a little deeper for the katakana, FWIW. Here's a screenshot:

Continuing with the Japanese:

orientaru burū オリエンタルブルー ("oriental blue")

wāku ni saiteki ワークに 最適 ("optimal / ideal for work")

kigokochi… sarasara 着心地,,,サラサラ ("comfortable to wear … silky, silky")

jōge sō messhu ura 上下総メッシュ裏 ("top and bottom with complete mesh liner")

rein sūtsu レインスーツ ("rain suit")

And here are the items in brackets:

mune poketto 胸ポケット ("chest pocket")

keitaidenwa-nado no komono no shūnō ni benrina mune poketto-tsuki
("A chest pocket, suitable for keeping small items such as a cell phone, etc., is attached.")

susoguchi chōsetsu sunappu 裾口調節スナップ ("fastener for adjusting pant cuffs")

botan o tomeru koto de jitensha chēn e no makikomi o bōshi shimasu
("By buttoning closed the pant cuffs, you can prevent them from getting caught by your bike chain.")

After all that, this rain suit doesn't seem so random any more!

[Thanks to Hiroko Sherry]


  1. JS said,

    December 12, 2014 @ 11:58 am

    But Prof. Mair, you neglected to mention WORKIN GOOD at lower left, where the Japanese also features a loan word rendered in Katakana! Worthy of a ROFL in my book…

  2. Victor Mair said,

    December 12, 2014 @ 12:11 pm

    Yeah, JS, that's a good point, and I'm glad you made it, but I thought I'd leave it up to LLog readers to deal with the English WORKIN GOOD themselves and match it up with the wāku ni saiteki ワークに 最適 ("optimal / ideal for work") that I did supply.

    If you take it all together, counting the Roman letter English and the katakana English, there might be more English here than Japanese, except that the katakana English is a kind of Japanese (gairaigo) too, and even the rōmaji English might be considered as a type of Japanese.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that the entire English lexicon has been incorporated into Japanese — almost.

  3. Victor Mair said,

    December 12, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

    From Miki Morita:

    I might suggest that 着心地 (kigokochi) would be more like "feeling of wearing [the random suit]."

    上下 is jōge and 総 is sō. Yunisekkusu is, yes, can be expressed as 男女兼用.

    I have no idea why this is named randamu suutsu. That is so random.

  4. John Rohsenow said,

    December 12, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

    On a slightly related topic, way back in the late 1970s when China was just
    getting back into the export mkt, the late anthropologist Norma Diamond was shown a proposed ad for "Normal" shirts. When she asked how they had picked that brand name, they replied, Well, you have Standard Oil, don't you?

  5. Dan Milton said,

    December 12, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

    Wondering why the blue color is "oriental" (and a check of various things advertised on the Web shows me it's a standard usage). Is there a connection to the Orient, or is that random too?

  6. Richard W said,

    December 12, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

    I kept waiting for the bit where you tell us why it's called "random"! I formed a theory as soon as I saw the picture, and I wanted to see whether I was right. I have a plastic poncho that was sold as a small package, presumably intended to be carried in handbags etc. I keep mine in the pannier bag of my bicycle in case of an unexpected downpour. My theory is that the Random Suit is intended for use in "random rain". It does look more substantial than the thin poncho I keep in my pannier, though, and would give better coverage for the legs (than a poncho) when cycling in the rain.

  7. Victor Mair said,

    December 12, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

    Why "random"?

    Why "oriental blue"?

    The problem with trying to figure out these conundrums is that the Japanese and the English are the same. The one doesn't help you elucidate the other.

  8. Gregory Kusnick said,

    December 12, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

    It's a random suit and yet all the parts turn out to be the same color! What are the odds?

  9. Sjiveru said,

    December 12, 2014 @ 10:37 pm

    Maybe 'random' here is a weird translation of 適当 (tekitou)? 適当 can mean 'random' (especially in the sense of 'unexpected', 'out of context'), but it normally means 'appropriate for the context' (eg 答えは適当なに入れてください (kotae wa tekitou ni irete kudasai), 'put the right answers in'). I suppose they meant to say 'the perfect suit (for the conditions that require it)', but ended up with the wrong meaning of 適当.

  10. Barbara Phillips Long said,

    December 14, 2014 @ 6:05 pm

    In addition to Standard Oil, we have General Motors.And I would have called that color royal blue, which probably brings up another whole set of issues.

    Are Asians who grew up in Asia and speak English as a second language less sensitive to the historic context of "oriental" than, say, Asians and others who are native speakers of American English? Is there some other source for the color name, such as a tie-in with blue-and-white export porcelain?

  11. Matt said,

    December 14, 2014 @ 8:22 pm

    It's worth noting that "random suit" is a brand or product name, not a descriptor. Still weird, but it may not have any intended meaning (although as a hapless pattern-matching ape I like the lines Sjiveru is thinking along!).

    It may or may not be a coincidence that the same company currently has rain-suit brands including borrowed morphemes like "grand" and "land" — perhaps someone in the rainwear department at Kohshin Rubber is just a big fan of the /rand/ sound?

  12. Michael said,

    December 14, 2014 @ 11:50 pm

    It was suggested to me that "random suit" is the name because the suit is composed of different pieces (jacket, pants, headpiece). "Random" here is a translation of バラバラ (barabara), which can also mean "loose" or "disconnected".

RSS feed for comments on this post