Sometimes I find Japanese businesses closed with signs on them saying, in English, something about “Renewal.” It has happened to shops that I like to use. I go to a place, expecting it to be open, but instead find it closed with a “Renewal” sign on the door. I used to think it was little problem for me, because “Renewal” sounds like “Renovation,” and I thought the shop was just being renovated and would soon reopen for my shopping pleasure.
But “Renovation” is not what the Japanese mean. Renewal means that the business is closed and gone, completely not temporarily. Sold. Bankrupt. Gone out of business. Who knows? And the site is being prepared for a totally new tenant. It has caused me to gnash my teeth because it has happened that, after being assured in English by Japanese acquaintances (a guarantee for messed-up communication) that the shop would “re-open,” I patiently waited - and waited, and waited - with growing expectation only to suffer crushing feelings of disappointment when the shop reopened as something completely different and not to my taste or needs.
I learned this lesson about “Renewal” by chance through repeated occurrence over time. But in the same manner I have come to learn that renovation in Japanese is called “Reform.” So if a business hangs a sign saying that it will be closed for some duration due to “reform,” I now know that it means renovation as I understand it, and that it will soon re-open. It has only taken me 17-years to figure this out.