Although I no longer live in China, I’m still trying to learn Chinese and I’m always on the lookout for new Chinese terms to learn. Occasionally, I’ll come across Chinese terms during every day life in the West, which is always cool: just going about my daily business and then all of a sudden some Chinese term pops up and hits me.
So when the Zhu Zhu Pets Hamsters came along, I thought “That’s obviously Chinese, Zhu Zhu probably means pig pig”.
Not wanting to be too sure of myself, I looked up other meanings of Zhu, just in case it meant something else. I didn’t see any other likely candidates. I did find the following translation of guinea pig on a forum on pet names: “tian zhu shu”. Someone else calls them “xiao zhu zhu” on the same entry.
Bingo! The Zhu Zhu Pets Hamsters must be Chinese. Okay, hamsters and guinea pigs are slightly different, but that’s too much of a coincidence isn’t it?
Maybe not. Searching for a more concrete link between Zhu Zhu Pets Hamsters and the Chinese language proved fruitless. Then I found out that they used to be called Go Go Pets Hamsters and it seems to me that the new name is just some marketing hype. To top it off, it seems Zhu Zhu is pronounced as zoo zoo (which would be zu), rather than jew jew (zhu).
So I guess I was wrong and I was seeing Chinese where there wasn’t any. Fooled by the little electronic pet hamsters…