No more need to bottle up your multilingual dreams

While HSBC prides itself on its worldwide local knowledge, poster ads and television commercials aren’t the sort of thing a traveller can pop in his pocket. Gifts company Special EFX has come up with a much more practical way of ensuring that, when in Rome, travellers are able to do as the Romans do.

Its new Cheers bottle-opener contains a rotating dial upon which are printed drinking toasts from 16 countries. The thirsty owner will therefore know that, when he raises his glass in Finland, he should exclaim “Kippis!”; and were he to find himself sipping ouzo on a Piraeus quayside, he could do worse than to cry “Jamas!” (though not, of course, in Israel).

The invention comes not a moment too soon for the Diary – which has been unable to return to Japan since offering a genial “Chin chin” to Junichiro Koizumi at the 2000 G8 summit in Okinawa – but a pronunciation guide would be handy. Although the Polish salutation “Na zdrowie!” is a phrase many readers have no doubt uttered after a couple too many, saying it on purpose is another matter entirely.


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