A type of mnemonic wordplay often seen in advertising in Japan is goroawase. This is the use of the different phonetic values of digits to place furigana above phone numbers to make the numbers easier to remember and spell out a pertinent message. A set of possible readings exists in Japanese for each number taken from the kunyomi and onyomi readings of the kanji characters plus English-language pronunciations.
Here are a few examples of goroawase to illustrate the point. The image below is an ad for a cooking school and the number 422-760 can be read shefu ni naroo (Let's become a chef!)
This example of goroawase reads yoyaku shiyo yo or please make a reservation!
Yet another is yoyaku koko sa or make your reservation here! The sa at the end of a word is common Nagoya usage and acts very much like yo to give emphasis to the statement.
If you have any examples of interesting goroawase, we'd love to hear from you. Please leave them in the comments section.
Like this Japan blog? Sign up for the JapanVisitor newsletter
Yahoo Japan Auction Service
Tokyo Apartment Lease
Rough Guide To Japan