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Thursday, November 09, 2006

What's in a name?

Strange Underground Station Names

Kudanshita station by Nodoca

I've just been sent an email from Robert Hulse the fab curator of the Brunel Engine House Museum and leader of the innuendo ridden Thames Tunnel Tour, who's in Tokyo and pondering on an unusual station name:

"I don't know if you have a column about signs & directions in foreign Tube stations but here is a troubling one. Whilst sorting out my 'bullet train' booking I noticed the following marked on the station map:

'Old Man's Place for Pleasure'

Of course Japan is right at the cutting edge of rail travel & customer service, but can we one day look forward to this sort of facility on LU? Or is this just an unfortunate phrasing of something quite innocent like 'Day Centre for the Elderly'...

I asked a regular visitor & commenter who knows about these sorts of things and he says it could be a literal translation of a station name. "Kudanshita Station (pictured above) translates as 'nine steps under the station'. But that's only if you read the characters together. If you read them separately you may be able to intepret the meaning as 'swan, staircase, beneath the moon, lodge'."

Obviously if we referred to our station names by their original meanings, it would mean station announcers would have to do more than the advanced mumbling we hear at the moment. Change here for the "Saxon chieftan's clearing in the forest" sounds more exotic than Wembley Park (or rather Wemba Lea Park - its orginal name). Cyril Harris's little gem "What's in a name" would be required reading and we might find that some of our station names bring up a more evocative picture of the area.

; Posted by Annie Mole Thursday, November 09, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon