Okay, it’s time for the requisite “funny signs” post. It seems like every traveler to Asia finds a few funny translated signs, and I’m no exception. I would like to state, for the record, that I thought the English in Japan was excellent. By and large the signs were grammatically correct, and if they weren’t, you could still decipher the intent. The people were so friendly and helpful, language never seemed to be a barrier. Nevertheless, let it not be said that I don’t enjoy a good “lost in translation” moment, so here’s a few of the funnies.
It took us a while to find to the Uni, as the locals call it, which was surprising since it sits on a giant hill and overlooks the city. But when we finally found it, it was stunning.
The main building of the University of Glasgow is neogothic in style, with lots of spires and pointy arches. The stone is remarkable clean, especially compared to many of the other buildings in Glasgow. On the front side, half of the building was covered in scaffolding for repairs, and they were working on the roof. It’s an original slate roof, and we saw workers hacking new slate tiles into squares for the repair work! Talk about a skill-set that’s not in high demand!
Glasgow University was founded in 1451, making it the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. That’s pretty old! It is currently ranked in the Top 100 schools in the world, and in the Top 10 schools in the UK. I don’t think they use the term “Ivy Leavue” here, but if they did, I’m pretty sure this school would quality.
Glasgow was originally founded by a papal bull issued by Pope Nicholas V. Unfortunately the actual piece of paper with the papal bull written on it has disappeared. In 1560 (during the Scottish Reformation) the archbishop fled to France, taking the bull and mace of the university with him. The mace was eventually returned, but the bull was not. In 1690 a sighting was reported at the Scots College in Paris, but that’s the last time anyone saw it. Most scholars think the bull was lost during the French Revolution. Trust the French to lose something important like that!
Without the actual bull, which is the document that legally gives the University the right to award degrees, I wonder whether any of it is actually legal. But then again, I’ve lost both my high school and college diplomas, so Alex thinks that I never really graduated, so maybe I shouldn’t say anything!
The University is quite large, by any standard, with 20,000 undergraduate students and 5,000 graduate students. There is also a very high percentage of local and UK students, with only 16% coming from international locations. The weather was lovely on the day we visited, but we still needed jackets. I can’t imagine how miserable it would be to study here in the winter … too cold and damp!
We did notice that there is an emphasis on all things Scottish. The Department of History is separated into Scottish History and Everything Else. The Department of Literature is separated into Scottish Literature and Everything Else. We did see the music building, but since I can’t really think of a famous Scottish composer (except for Sophia Dussek!) I suspect that music is combined.
It is nice to see such pride in Scotland. We have an ongoing debate about how to refer to Scotland, since we live here in England. Technically it is both a separate country, but also part of the same country. It’s a tricky situation. Alex tried to explain that it was like the holy trinity … an argument that is entirely lost on me.