On October 1st 1962, Sony opened its showroom on Fifth Avenue, New York. It had been a tale of chaos, recounts Sony’s history.

Although some members of the Sony staff could understand English, that did not mean that their English was understandable to Americans.

In one instance, a member of the design department of Sony head office in Tokyo came to offer support for the construction and suggested that the wallpaper hanger use “biniru.”

No one could understand what he was talking about.

Thinking his pronunciation was not right, he tried accenting the first syllable but to no avail.

Then he emphasised the second syllable.

The Americans still did not understand him. Finally in desperation he brought a piece of vinyl for the workers to see. “Zis, zis!” he reiterated.

The workers responded by exaggeratedly gesticulating and exclaiming, “Oh…. vinyl!”

Naturally, mispronouncing V as B would make it impossible for any American to understand.



  1. A salutary tale, SEPAM, thank you

  2. Bah Dr Bob in America you look for a girl who looks like Stormy Daniels

  3. Sounds like a good strategy for life in general, SEPAM

    • SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

      The strategy worked even better than I had originally expected when I heard a colleague of mine taking this advice ended up marrying said medium well dressed young lady.

  4. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

    Also L vs R vs LU vs RU make for many puzzles.

    It might have changed since I lived there but it used to be the standard advice for finding someone who could speak English to search for a medium well dressed young lady.

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