Hatto Day.

Yes, this is fluff, but it’s my kind of fluff:

It’s August once again, and in Japan that means its time to dust off our hat and huts to celebrate 10 August, which is known as Hat Day…or Hut Day. In Japanese the short “a” and “u” sounds of English are virtually indistinguishable, so the words “hat” and “hut” would both become “hatto” (ハット) in Japanese. This confusion is the true meaning of Hat Day, as well as Hut Day, and is probably best understood after hearing The Hat Day Story, also known as The Hut Day Story.

It all began in 2019, when automotive parts retail chain Yellow Hat approached the pizza chain Pizza Hut to work together on a promotional campaign called Hat Day. Yellow Hat had hoped to use the date of 10 August because the numbers “8” and “10” could be read as “hatto” together in Japanese. However, the deal went south after Yellow Hat realized that their would-be partner was not named Pizza Hat. […]

Yes, it’s sure to be a Hat Day to remember, and quite possibly the greatest Hut Day yet, so mark your calendars with whichever rendering of hatto you prefer and be sure to take part in the festivities.

Thanks, Nick, and a happy Hat(to) Day to all!


  1. David Eddyshaw says

    Bareka nɛ fʋ zupibig!

    (The age-old traditional Kusaal greeting for Hat day.)

  2. J.W. Brewer says

    I do not recall Pizza Hut from the period of my 1970’s boyhood when I lived in Tokyo (although the internet does claim they first entered the Japanese market while we were living there). I do recall the Roppongi outpost of Shakey’s Pizza (a big U.S. chain at the time, now much diminished in geographical footprint and market share), which if memory serves deviated from the U.S. menu by offering cuttlefish as an optional pizza topping.

    (Other U.S. chains whose Tokyo-franchisee presence I do recall from that era include McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Baskin-Robbins.)

  3. Jen in Edinburgh says

    They *should* be called Pizza Hat…

  4. January First-of-May says

    …oh, it’s supposed to be a roof. I agree that I would probably have thought it was a hat.

  5. Trond Engen says

    JWB: [Pizza Hut in Tokyo offered] cuttlefish as an optional pizza topping.

    The one thing I know about Japan is that if it doesn’t smell like fish, it isn’t food.

  6. Ai heito zu bi pedantikku, batto 8-10 uddo bi hattō (with a long ō, wouldn’t it)?

    I like anchovy on pizza, and like the smell of mackerel cooking as much as I do the smell of bacon.

  7. Trond Engen says

    I’m no stranger to fish myself. It’s just an unexpected aroma in a Danish-styled patisserie.

  8. Lars Mathiesen says

    I’ve told this before, but it’s topical again: There was a hipster pizza bar in Stockholm called Pizza Hatt. (It’s no longer there, but Pizza Hut still are). (Standard) Swedish does not have [ʌ] or any non-open unrounded back vowel at all, even as an allophone, so both restaurants were pronounced with [hat̚] — in theory the stop in hatt is long but I don’t hear that; in any case, by the same theory there are no short syllables so the /t/ in hut will be the same.

    But the spelling difference was clearly enough to prevent a copyright claim. Or maybe Pizza Hut didn’t feel threatened, people willing to pay for hipster pizza would probably not visit them anyway.

    (Danish has more or less the same vowel setup as Swedish, but the back vowels are not as aggressively rounded and E /ʌ/ (and /ɤ/) get realized as /o/. E hot and hut are the same in bocca danese, but different from hat).

    So why do Pizza Hut have a hat as their logo? They know, don’t they?

  9. Lars Mathiesen says

    And now I’m trying to imagine Danish puff pastry with a mackerel filling. Doesn’t really come together, but I’d be willing to try something with warm-smoked salmon and ricotta. (Absent my gluten and milk problems).

  10. PlasticPaddy says

    @lars, Trond
    I was looking for an image with a fish smørrebrod and a “Danish” pastry in the same shot for sale in a bakery. Maybe there is an E.U rule about having these too close together.

  11. Pizza Hut in Germany discussed 18 years ago .
    I also thought for years that it was a German name and pronounced the second element [hu:t].

  12. I second Hans, noting that my German friends during my exchange year there thought the same.

  13. The “hat” is the red roof of the iconic Pizza Hut building design. Did they build those in Europe or Japan?

  14. Jen in Edinburgh says

    I think the last one I was in was this one, so I suppose so. But the way most British towns are built they could just as well look like this or this – I don’t think I’ve ever connected a particular shape with them before.

  15. I think most fast food chain locations in Europe are in city streets or indoor malls rather than purpose built standalone drivethrus by suburban arterial roads. Pizza hut is scarce in Ireland so I can’t comment on what roofs they might have, but for comparison I’ve never seen physical golden arches at a McDonald’s here.

  16. David Eddyshaw says
  17. The Pizza Hut in Bonn’s City Center is in a historical building, so no iconic roof, only the logo on the shop front. I don’t think I ever saw a standalone pizza hut building in Germany; the fast food chains you mostly find as drivethroughs or otherwise as standalone buildings in commercial parks here are McDonald’s and Burger King.

  18. Lars Mathiesen says

    But the hat is at an angle, so how can it be a hut? Are they all built on slopes? Also proof of what mollymooly said.

  19. I feel for the Germans and every other nation deprived of the architecture of an authentic Der Wienerschnitzel franchise (later perverted to a mere Wienerschnitzel).

  20. Weinerschnitzel” [sic] — ten seconds of punk genius.

  21. @Lars Mathiesen: The slant is a relatively new thing. The original logo and the roof shape it represented are shown in this article, which is actually about the chain’s decision in the last decade to update its look, moving away from those iconic features.

  22. I don’t know what percentage of American Pizza Huts are in the iconic buildings. Certainly the one that used to be near me in Washington, DC, wasn’t, but then it was a combination Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell. I’d guess most are now in more normal storefronts. (Also some of the iconic buildings have become other things.)

  23. David Marjanović says

    Europe has a general dearth of suburban arterial roads, or suburbs, or space. Practically all fast-food places I’ve seen over here are thoroughly urban and not in separate buildings. And Pizza Hut is very rare; I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen one on this side of the Pond.

    (Burger King barely made it! It’s all McDonald’s all the time!)

    in theory the stop in hatt is long but I don’t hear that;

    If it’s unreleased (as you transcribed it), it’s impossible to hear unless something convenient follows. A vowel for instance; I hear it fine in Hatten är din. 😉

    Der Wienerschnitzel


    (das Schnitzel)

    The original logo and the roof shape it represented are shown in this article

    Whoa. That’s a hat. They somehow chose a hat as their logo, and then they started building hats and using them as roofs for their huts!

    Also some of the iconic buildings have become other things.

    Second-best blog I’ve seen in a long time.

  24. And Pizza Hut is very rare; I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen one on this side of the Pond.
    Nevertheless they exist; as I said, there’s one in the city center of Bonn and I have seen them in other locations, all inner city.
    (Burger King barely made it! It’s all McDonald’s all the time!)
    It’s not that bad for BK; according to ScrapeHero, its 1430 McDonald’s locations in Germany against 736 Burger King locations, so roughly 2:1.

  25. David Marjanović says

    Ah. In Austria Burger King was completely absent for decades – McDonald’s had simply outcompeted it. (It’s back now.)

  26. John Cowan says

    I think most fast food chain locations in Europe are in city streets or indoor malls rather than purpose built standalone drivethrus by suburban arterial roads.

    The same is true in St. Petersburg West where I live.

  27. Lars Mathiesen says

    Sweden (and probably Norway/Finland) are outliers in Europe in that they are mainly rock and lake and forest with a few residential areas dotted around. Lots of arterial roads and drive through BK and McD (and native Max). But Pizza Hut only has a few city center locations, drive through pizza is not really a concept we grok. (Sit-down restaurant, yes, delivery, yes. But even then it’s generally whole pizzas to share as the diners see fit, not the pre-cut slice buffet that Pizza Hut does. (I don’t know what they do in the US, maybe that’s just a gimmick they use in Sweden to make them stand out from all the Turkish and Kurdish mom-and-pop places).

  28. Lars Mathiesen says

    @DM, I’m not quite sure it’s unreleased, but for sure it isn’t aspirated. And in hatten it is long, true. I think it’s some coda reduction thing in isolation, if I put it in a sentence I tend to get a long /t:/ (but no aspiration) (even for Pizza Hut).

    Is there a native Swede in the house?

  29. Jen in Edinburgh says

    I have been to a pizza buffet in Norway (it was reassuringly unforeign, which I felt in need of at the time), but I don’t think it was Pizza Hut. Peppe’s, maybe.

  30. David Marjanović says

    Oh, lack of word-final aspiration is unsurprising. In all of Germanic only half of Icelandic really keeps up the aspiration in all positions.

  31. In Australia, Burger King is Hungry Jack’s, so in Austria it should be… Hungry J’s? Hans Hunger Hat?

  32. David: Half a century ago Indiana had a local chain of bars called Der Gas Haus. My department head at the time, the late Horst Frenz, protested that this solecism was unworthy of a university town. He made such a stink that the one in Bloomington became Das Gas Haus.

  33. David Marjanović says

    It’s been called Würger King, insinuating that the food will make you retch.

    Das Gas Haus

    Should still be Gashaus… whatever that’s supposed to mean.

    Gasthaus “inn”, “traditional beer place”?

  34. It’s just a pseudo-German pun on gashouse (cf.).

  35. In English pseudo-German, the definite article is always der (rhymes with “burr”).

  36. That might be why Der Wienerschnitzel dropped the Der. Better than admitting their name was in bad German, and forcing innocents to learn another whole German article.

  37. The first thing to appear in Moscow that I remember were chain bakeries.

    I don’t remember any now. Do they exist? Foreign bread was extremely interesting, it did not taste as our bread.
    Then Pizza Hut – but I don’t think I ate there.

    Then McDonalds, on the Pushkin’s sqaure, but initially (this initially lasted a LONG time) there were HUGE queues. It was not affordable, but Muscovites were curious. Again, imagine “Alien Food”.

  38. Heh. In 1992, a friend wanted to take me to the McDonald’s in Moscow because it was the “in” thing to do. I had to explain to him that I hadn’t traveled thousands of kilometres to the East to end up in a Western burger joint. He understood and we’re still friends 🙂

  39. I thought the Russian passion for McDonald’s was odd, and then I learned about their passion for Santa Barbara

  40. It was longer than “The Rich Cry Too” and “the Slave Girl Isaura”.

    For a Soviet child books and films can be “in two parts”, rarely “in four parts” and sometimes there is something real long, like Czterej pancerni i pies: 21 episode. But it is not a story, does not count.

    The longest stuff that counts is the 17 Moments of Sping, 12 parts (not “episodes”)

    And then some boys told that there are foreign films in 40 and more parts. Almost unbelievable.
    And then towards the 90s someone told that … I think that was when the Slave Girl Isaura was aired, he told that in reality it is more than 100 parts! I don’t know if anyone believed him. I don’t know if I believed him.
    I would love to, it would be Great if someone actually did such a thing: a film in 100 parts. But such “great” things are usually not done because everyone is just too stupid to do some real great stuff.

    And then there was “The Rich Cry Too” and WOW.
    And then Santa Barbara. It was so infinite that they hired new actors for the same roles once in a while!!! Wow!!!
    No, of course I would not watch it, it was boring. But still.

  41. Trond Engen says

    @Lars: Not Danish pastry with fish. I imagine an addition of fish oil in the dough. It’s really not that strange. As a northern European, belonging to a dairy culture, I know that I can improve the taste of anything by adding butter, cheese, fresh cream, or sour cream. I have no doubt that people coming here from far corners of the world will be struck by how everything has a cloying whiff of milk, even our appropriation of their cuisine. What struck me in Japan was that fish seems to have the same role. And since I found that observation perceptive and intelligent, I’ve never cared to check if it bears out on a bigger sample .

    @Jen: Norwegian pizza places (like Peppes, the franchise that introduced pizza to Norway in the seventies) generally offers a free choice of pizza slices.

    @All: McDonald’s moving into iconic buildings:
    Drammen’s old exchange, facing the main square.
    the branch of the national bank on Kristiansand’s main street.

  42. David Marjanović says

    I thought the Russian passion for McDonald’s was odd, and then I learned about their passion for Santa Barbara…

    Germans Love David Hasselhoff

    “Also known as ‘Big in Japan’.”

  43. A Russian blogger based on Rangoon (one of those people who live in an “exotic” country and work as intermediaries for various businessmen who deal with that country) complained that we’re missing a historical opportunity by not flooding local channels with our Tv-shows. The Burmese eagerly watched any random foreign film that found their way to Burma.

    By the way, during 90s ножки Буша (the legs of Bush) was a common name for chicken legs.

  44. January First-of-May says

    In English pseudo-German, the definite article is always der (rhymes with “burr”).

    …OTOH in the German “accent” of the Nazis in Irregular Webcomic the definite article is (almost) always die, as in die Führer.
    (Apparently it varied more in the early strips, and this particular colocation was a mistake that caught on – and was so common that it ended up pulling everything else with it. Nazi science sneers also at der boundary between linguistic genders!
    …Since that phrase they only used “der” twice in several hundred more strips.)

    By the way, during 90s ножки Буша (the legs of Bush) was a common name for chicken legs.

    The story I heard was that Americans, for some unfathomable-to-me reason, thought that the breast, and/or the wings, was the best part of the chicken, so sent the leftover legs that they didn’t want to eat over to other countries, like Russia.

    I’m not sure how true that is, but I do get the impression that apparently different cultures disagree on what the best part of a chicken is. (And then there’s turkeys… though admittedly they’re mostly tastier all over.)

  45. John Cowan says

    As a northern European, belonging to a dairy culture

    “All Gaul is divided into three parts: the part that cooks with lard and goose fat, the part that cooks with olive oil, and the part that cooks with butter.” —David Chessler

  46. Trond Engen says

    Yes, that was in the back of my head.

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