Then there’s the whole phenomena of getting yourself tattooed in a language you don’t speak, a script you don’t read, which often goes bad. From the BBC:
When teenager Joanne Raine had her boyfriend’s nickname “Roo” tattooed on her stomach it was supposed to be a sign of her undying love.
The 19-year-old from Darlington paid £80 for the Chinese artwork in 2004 and was delighted with the results.
That was until she showed it off in a Chinese takeaway and found out it actually spelled “supermarket.”
The helpful blog Hanzi Smatter disputes that the characters mean “supermarket.” Commenters have fun trying to figure out what it does mean, until someone writes in to say it’s the name of a Chinese supermarket chain (without corroboration).
Update: changed the typo on the hanzi blog, got the joke. Thanks to the king of closed captions.