Perhaps some of you remember the kleptomaniac lobster?
We have become quite good at figuring out the meaning of English used by Japanese. But this one had us stumped.
And last night, mystery solved. Over dinner with our friends Jason and Midori, Midori, who is a simultaneous translator/interpreter, told us to translate “kleptomaniac” back into Japanese. It came out as 手長（てなが, pronounced tenaga), which indeed is what was on the menu. The individual Kanji mean hand and long. Long hands! Itchy fingers! Kleptomaniac! We get it, this is a lobster with long claws. The Japanese writer put “long hands” into the dictionary, got kleptomaniac – and there we have it.
Don’t know about you, but this has been amusing/bothering us for weeks. What a relief!