When I first heard that Apple had delivered a new, intelligent, and very personal assistant to everyone who buys an iPhone 4S, one question gripped me: Why had the company named her after Tom Cruise's daughter? Was this a neat Hollywood homage?
Then I paid attention a little more and realized she was not called Suri, but Siri.
I am told, though, that most of Japan also paid attention and realized she was not called Suri, but Buttocks.
So many people have sent me the cheeky information that when you say "Siri" in Japanese it means "ass" that I hardly know whom to credit as being first.
Let's say MSNBC's post was the first to usher me to helplessness.
Naturally, friends, colleagues and spiritual advisers have all decided to bottom-feed on this issue. One suggested that Apple should rename the feature something more scientific-- like Uranus.
Another merely muttered: "You're talking into your what?"
Not for a moment do I republish their thoughts as the apogee of wit, merely to reflect that the idea of the Japanese talking rumpward seems to be amusing quite a swath of the world.
Twitter, naturally, is bummed out about this vital topic.
Yet Japan isn't the only country where Siri has a difficult connotation. For Gizmodo reports that in Georgia "siri" is a fine, colloquial term for "penis." In English, the most accurate translation appears to be the "hen's husband" term for the male member.
While the locals in Georgia might find this a little bit of a siri-up, perhaps they will be more concerned this morning that famed action man Vladimir Putin is reportedly keen on re-creating something that sounds mightily like the Soviet Union.
In essence, brand names do sometimes have odd connotations. Many thought "iPad" a little too sanitary. My own favorite was the light bulb manufacturer, Osram-- which, in Polish, means "I will defecate all over you/it".
In watching, though, Apple's new iPhone 4S ad (embottomed here), some might decide that Siri herself does, in fact, sound a little Japanese.
Those might be people with strange, retentive complexes. Or they might merely be people who are merely talking out of their Siri.