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I'm trying to translate some of the signs in the anime FLCL, and I came across this sign on the side of a train in the first episode:

ワソマソ
出入口

The second part means "doorway", correct? But what about ワソマソ ? What does 'Wasomaso' mean? Or am I reading it wrong? Thanks for your help!

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3 Answers 3

I have been on small trains (most recently: Eizan railway in Kyoto) that indeed bear messages along the line of 'ワンマン', followed by information on how/where to board/alight the train (the 出入口 part).

For example, Eiden asks passengers to exit through the front door, due to the train being 'ワンマン'.

Eiden translates ワンマン as conductorless (a somewhat ungrammatical but easily understandable word). In absence of a conductor, the train still usually has one person driving and/or attending to the doors and tickets.

Although all the other meanings mentioned in this thread are valid translations of this term, given context, I think "conductorless" (or equivalent) is the most likely one.

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I thought Eiden has a driver on it, and the driver comes to the door and do the tickets. Doesn't it? If it is indeed (wo)man-less, it would be called 無人. –  user458 May 28 '12 at 1:56
    
@sawa: as I said: it definitely does have a person on board, that does tickets and gates. I honestly couldn't tell you if they are really driving it (I have a strong suspicion that it is mostly automated, but the person might have the possibility to take over if needed). –  Dave May 28 '12 at 2:08
    
Then, I don't understand why you claim it should be zero rather than one. The total number of crews is one, not zero. –  user458 May 28 '12 at 3:35
    
@sawa: I meant to say that conductorless could have implied nobody aboard, but nevermind. I edited my answer to make it clearer. –  Dave May 28 '12 at 12:23

This is probably ワンマン (note instead of ). ワンマン is wasei-eigo from "one man". For example, ワンマンショー (one man show), or ワンマンライブ (meaning a live performance with just one band, not necessarily one person).

In the context of buses, ワンマン means that a bus is being operated by a driver alone, with no conductor (i.e. every bus nowadays). It used to be a rule to have this sign if there was no conductor.

So this is not a phrase ("one man doorway"), but a two-purpose sign showing the doorway and stating that the bus is ワンマン.

Of course, this being FLCL it's possible that it actually does say ワソマソ, as a joke. A Google search reveals that it is sometimes used jokingly.

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Are you sure it wasn't ワンマン, a word which apparently would mean "one-man operation/driver-only operation/one person operation" in this context? (in other contexts ワンマン can mean "dictator" or "autocrat".)

Edit: Fixed definition.

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If it were ワンマン in this context, it would not mean what you wrote. It would mean a carriage with only one crew (only the driver, without a conductor). –  user458 May 25 '12 at 4:40
    
Yes, cypher, that is what it says. Thank you for your help! –  Ryan May 25 '12 at 5:04

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