Picking the difference between laundry detergents is something I find difficult at best, even when I can fully comprehend the packaging. I am not a chemist (if that even helps), so other than looking for the box with the most fluorescent colours and promises of whiter whites, I am typically clueless in this regard. However, trying to buy laundry detergents in Japanese adds that little extra challenge that I wasn’t necessarily looking for. There are about twenty brands of laundry detergents at my local supermarket, and these are my shortlist. Please also enjoy one of my favourite games, translating English words translated into Japanese back into English.
Likely translation: any suggestions?
This was the laundry detergent I first bought upon arriving in Japan, because it had clean-looking shirts on the label, so hopefully it would also make my day-glo orange and lime-green shirts glow equally radiantly. However, I later noticed that it has the “Woolmark” symbol on it. As someone who likes to wear a lot of hessian, I realised that this was therefore far too girly for me. It slightly atones for this by having an interesting mechanism where you hold the bottle upright and squeeze the correct amount of liquid up into the graduated cap.
Likely translations: Arial (font?), Ariel (mermaid?)
Subtitle: “ionpawaajeru” (Ion power gel)
This actually did a pretty lousy job of washing clothes. I think it may be because although the picture up the top looks like a top-loading washing machine (which is what I have), the icon in the bottom right hand corner seems to show that it’s for front-loading washing machines, just to keep it confusing. The label is blue however, so you’d have to assume that it will clean things a bit. This assumption would be wrong.
Likely translation: Attack!
Subtitle: baiojeru (bio gel)
It had me at “Atakku!”. Though I should note that I once again didn’t notice this was for a front-loading washing machine. Damn. So, though it has a sufficiently bad-ass sounding name, it still doesn’t really clean my clothes that well.
Problem solved, though – I decided that clean clothes aren’t cool anymore. My next job is to convince everyone else of this, which I’m sure will be much easier than finding another laundry detergent.