What Japan Thinks is a marvelous website which features Japanese opinion polls and surveys translated into English. The man behind the blog, Ken Y-N, provides a fantastic service by providing the English speaking world with not only facts and figures about Japan but hard data on what the average Japanese person thinks. Ken always links to the source data so keen beans can check out the original Japanese for themselves. One of his recent post deals with 和製英語 - Japanese style English. Although a lot of words enter the Japanese lexicon from English and retain something close to their original meaning, there are many sneaky katakana words which look like their English forebears but whose meanings are vastly different. For example, the "Note" in DeathNote (デスノート）actually means notebook (but I'm onboard here: while DeathNote sounds edgy and sexy, DeathNotebook sounds nerdy and desperate). The film クローズド・ノート is another example - an English note is neither closed nor open because it's a single piece of paper, but a Japanese ノート is a book.* These false friends lie in wait for neophyte learners who employ that often useful linguistic strategy "when in doubt, just katakana-ize it", so before you wedge your English foot in your Japanese mouth check out the list on What Japan Thinks and be careful out there.
*Don't Japanese kids have a hard enough time learning English without having movie posters confusing them too? Next to the big English title "Closed Note" we have a picture of....an open book.