What you are forced to play as an English speaking person when you go to Japan. You see, Japanese usually write non-Japanese words in a special alphabet called Katakana. However, this alphabet is 100% geared towards Japanese phonetics, and words that don't fit into that system are often mangled beyond recognition. The following are a couple of examples of English words being manhandled into katakana and then romanized back:

  • iahoun - earphone
  • uirasu - virus
  • suicchi - switch
Now with a bit of experience in Japanese phonetics, this is annoying but manageable. The advanced level you get when the Japanese start abbreviating these alredy mangled words:
Such things can make a grown-up linguist weep.

Here are a few hints:

Katakana "ru" at the end of a word almost always comes from "r" or "l".
Example: "inisharu" is from "initial".

Katakana "to" and "do" are usually used for "t" and "d" respectively.
For instance, "Dragonball" (as in "Dragonball Z" is "doragonbooru" in katakana.

The vowel "a" is sometimes used for an English "uh" sound.
Example: Sunglasses are "sangurasu".

The vowel "a" with length mark (Romanized as "aa") is sometimes used for the sound of "er".
Example: An internet server is "saabaa".

For starters:
  • garasu - glass (from Dutch: glas) (the hint here is, there is already a native word for grass in Japanese, so they won't be talking about "grass".)
  • baree - abbr. of volley ball (baree booru)
  • baree* - ballet dancing
  • Pureiadesu - (prounounced: poo-re-E-ah-de-su) Pleiades
  • tsundora - tundra
  • mahha - mach (speed unit)
  • kantsuri- kurabu - country club, at the end of names of golf clubs.
*Differentiation is made by writing out three kana's for ballet, while the volley ball baree is written with two kana's and a dash, indicating a long vowel.

Lost in translation:
  • sumaato - slim
  • fueminisuto - men who have respect for women
  • meriken ko - "American powder" (flour)

"But I'm not European!"
A few of the jazillion-many Japanese abbreviations:
The Japanese New Yorker slang: There seems to be a common theme where you take the first two syllables from each the first and the second word, and then combining it to make a new abbreviation.

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