Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A friend has asked me to design a T-shirt for him, and he wants it to read: eat, sleep, drift (as in car drifting) So far I have this: 食べる 睡眠 漂. I'm not sure if it's right as I am an English speaker with no experience of Japanese. Ideally I would like a Kanji AND Katakana translation. As you will probably understand I would like him to be pleased with his shirt and not looking a fool with something grammatically incorrect or insulting printed on it!

share|improve this question
I don't think this is appropriate for this web site. Sorry. meta.japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/796/… – Andrew Grimm Jul 26 '12 at 10:01
Why is it not appropriate? – erndub Jul 26 '12 at 10:02
Did you read the link I supplied? – Andrew Grimm Jul 26 '12 at 10:05
I did read the link, but my question is no more removed than others I have seen here. They didn't receive an "inappropriate" reply. I apologise if it is an inappropriate question to ask. – erndub Jul 26 '12 at 10:09
I think Andrew is mentioning that questions just asking for a translation is out of the scope of this site. But since you provided your attempt, I took it that it is rather asking for correction. – user458 Jul 26 '12 at 10:12

That phrase as a whole already has an established translation. It is: 食う寝る遊ぶ "eat, sleep, play" or maybe sticking to your words, more literally, 食う寝るドリフト "eat, sleep, drift (the car)". You cannot write it entirely in kanji. It is impossible. I have no idea what you mean by katakana translation. Do you just want the same thing to be written in katakana? Then, クウネルアソブ. But I think such idea is already stepping into "looking a fool".

share|improve this answer
Thank you Sawa, apologies for my ignorance. I realise that there are cultural and grammatical differences that are lost in translation. Why would it look foolish to use Katakana? Would it be because eat and sleep are already established words? – erndub Jul 26 '12 at 10:14
Because you would not normally write it in katakana. To give you an image in English, it is like writing the entire phrase in capitals (without spacing). – user458 Jul 26 '12 at 10:17
Thanks for your time and knowledge. I think back to the drawing board :) – erndub Jul 26 '12 at 10:25

Check out this car ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqyqYrZb2I4, they say くうねるあそぶ. You don't want to use the words 食べる for eat, nor 漂 for drift. 食べる just seems too straight to me. It's hard to explain, but I don't think it has the same semantic profile as the English translation "eat"; it might be too literal or too semantically simple. くう has a more lively, connotative vibe to it and is probably the better choice as a more stylized word. As for 漂, I haven't much experience with it, but I don't think it means "drift" in the sense of "car drift across pavement". 漂 is more "drift about the ocean" or "drift through midair". Whereas car drift is tractionless linear movement across some surface, the car never floats up off the pavement into the air nor begins to exhibit Brownian movement. Or at least that never happens on purpose. So, I think 漂 is the wrong sense of the English word "drift". Interestingly enough: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drifting_%28motorsport%29#Japanese_adaptation.

Anyways, chances are if you just look in a dictionary for translations the result will be totally underwhelming and won't have that terse aphoristic effect you're aiming for. You're best of asking someone. I'd go with what Sawa had to say but make it all kana, so くうねるあそぶ. Or maybe "食寝DRIFT".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.