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November 20, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

JAPANESE JIVE: Wacky and Wonderful Products from Japan by Caroline McKeldin (Tengu Books/Weatherhill: $9.95; 80 pp., illustrated, paperback original). English writing on T-shirts and product labels is considered very trendy in Japan, and these often hysterical examples were obviously created by people who don't speak the language, e.g. the beverages, "Plain White Water" and "Pocari Sweat." Some of the products sound as bizarre as their names, especially the "Soup Sand Series": a serving of soup sealed in a fried crumb crust, presented on a hamburger bun with lettuce and mayo to resemble a sandwich. What's the Japanese word for yeech?

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