You should put a link to your Japan trip blog in your About page thing!
Oh! That is a splendid idea! Thank you~
Here it is again for convenience sake: Lara and I got the opportunity to travel to Japan for almost two weeks last winter and are now catching up with the trip through blog entries here: http://13daysinjapan.blogspot.com/. Feel free to comment, subscribe, and share~!
Hint: Indecent words. Guess the name of the place.
A: Obscene language. (Changhua)
"Obscene language" in Chinese is zang hua (髒話). “Changhua” is the name of a city and county in west Taiwan and is pronounced zhang hua (彰化). However, when saying this joke with a Taiwanese accent, zhang hua becomes zang hua, the same pronunciation as “obscene language.”
Q: Superman protects the world, what protects the city?
A: A screensaver.
So, the answer to this riddle is actually a pun and takes some knowledge of Chinese characters and pronunciation to understand.
For those who don’t know already, Chinese is a tonal language and each character is read out loud with only one syllable (usually… but I won’t go into that). Furthermore, since there are only a few Chinese syllables available for over 40,000 Chinese characters, Chinese has a plethora of homonyms and differing tones help distinguish one syllable from the next.
For example, one syllable that is romanized as ying and pronounced with a rising tone could mean “to win” (it could mean other things, depending on the character used). However, that same syllable pronounced with a falling tone could mean “to be hard.” I bring up this example specifically because I recently heard a story in which a student of Chinese wanted to say “我贏了，我贏了！ (I won, I won!)” but accidentally said “我硬了，我硬了！ (I’m hard, I’m hard!)” and shocked his Chinese teacher a bit. Needless to say, tones are very important.
Anyway, even with the addition of the tones, there are still many homonyms. This is precisely what our riddle above is playing off of. The word for “city” (城市) is pronounced chengshi, with a rising tone on cheng and a falling tone on shi. The word for “(computer) program” here (程式) is also pronounced chengshi, with the same tones. The first part of the answer, yingmu (熒幕), means “screen.” The rest of the answer, baohu chengshi (保護程式), is pronounced with the exact same tones as that of the last part of the question, baohu chengshi (保護城市), baohu meaning “to protect.” Additionally, the entire phrase yingmu baohu chengshi (螢幕保護程式) has a meaning in and of itself: “screensaver.”
What protects the city?
A screensaver because the phrase “protects the city” (baohu chengshi) sounds just like the last part of the phrase for “screensaver” ([yingmu] baohu chengshi) in Chinese.
A: General Cao because speak of General Cao, here he comes.
General Cao is a famous leader from the Three Kingdoms Era of ancient China, as well as a notorious character in “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” （三國演義）. The conventional translation of the last part of the joke, the phrase “說曹操，曹操就到”, is “speak of the Devil, here he comes.” General Cao is not, in any way, the Chinese version or name of the Devil, but the general meaning is the same.
Who can run faster than a guy that comes right when you mention him?