From our very first arrival in China, we have been fascinated by the T-shirts our students and others wear with sayings on them in something related to English. For example, the very nice young man who made me a bowl of noodles for lunch at the Xinjiang noodle shop down the street sported this mysterious T
We have wondered for some time where these T-shirts are acquired (other than “taobao, from whence all things come). The other day, we by chance stumbled along the answer, when we found what I know think of as T-shirt street, near Shilu, just to the West of the old city’s outer moat.
This side of town is where wedding street is, so it’s not so surprising to find a clothing-centered street.
Andy was quite tempted by this shirt
which also sported a big Statue of Liberty on the back, but it was surprisingly expensive, and even bargaining was unlikely to get it into the range we would be willing to pay.
Some shirts were surprisingly similar.
I have no idea whether there is a particular English phrase that these two are trying to replicate. I suspect no-one wearing them has any clue what pap might refer to, and hardgore pap is a scary, if obscure, thought.
Urbanicteen also had several variations
Some shirts are deliberately referencing existing brand names (like the ubiquitous “Channel” hats, shirts, etc.)
Sometimes the letters are very close to random.
While at other times the words are there but the relationship between them is more obscure
Sometimes the juxtaposition of words (and would-be words) is like poetry
In China, T-shirts are also often worn in sets for couples or for families (a trend I believe began in Korea). (If anyone can enlighten me as to the meaning of “lovers fushi,” please do)
One shop, watched over by a small pink-winged angel, carried a wide range of these (inclluding the above), many of them full outfits including pants or shorts.
I could not convince my family of the necessity of our acquiring the cute sheep family outfits, complete with stripy shorts (seen in the window behind the angel). But I did manage, once at least, to get us all to wear our matching family (non-T) shirts.