Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Sow Joan Industrial Average

A quick preface for the uninitiated: Nintendo’s Animal Crossing is a game in which you, a human, move into and proceed to customize a small town populated by animals. I have the Wii version of this game and enjoy it as an occasional respite from what I do during my non video gaming hours, real-life simulator though Animal Crossing might be.

In the game, the player’s little human counterpart may have occasion to run into Sow Joan, an elderly female boar who sells turnips. The turnips are notable in that they can be sold at varying prices from day to day. If the player buys the turnips at one price, he or she could potentially make a profit on them by selling them when they’re priced above what they were initially bought for. However, if the player chooses to hang onto the turnips in hopes that the buying price goes up, they could eventually be screwed, either because the price could then plummet or because the turnips spoil. In the game, characters refer to this system as the “Stalk Market.”

sow joan, circa her 2002 debut

sow joan as she is known in japan: “kaburiba,” which
probably means something punny to someone

All that being said and with full knowledge that most character names in Animal Crossing are puns, it wasn’t until today that I realized that “Sow Joan” is a pun on “Dow Jones.”

I’m not yet sure if my embarrassment at not realizing this sooner outweighs my delight at finally decoding this particular pun.


  1. Anonymous3:28 PM

    Her name also sounds like sojourner and she's always traveling. There more here.

  2. "Kabu", written in two different ways, means both "stock" (as in "stock market") and "turnip". I always thought "stalk market" was just as brilliant as "Sow Joan".

    Another "aha" that just came to me (after playing the DS game every single day for almost two years now): the currency, Bells. In Japanese, again written in two different ways, "kane" can mean "money" (usually with the honorific, "okane") or "bell". This came up in Harvest Moon on the SNES, where a shady peddler's promised "money tree" turned out to be a less exciting bell tree instead. In Japanese, it worked.