"It is closed if it is opened."
This is on the front door of my friend's apartment building in Sapporo. At first, I laughed at the terrible Engrish and the humor from this sign really put me in a good mood. But then, I realized that every time I saw this sign I wondered about the idea that something is closed if it is opened. Is it possible for something to appear closed, but really be open, or to seem open when in fact it is closed? Could it be a Zen meditation? Is this something that one should contemplate? What does the "it" refer to? Could it possibly refer to more than just the door and the landlord's desire to keep the cold winter air out of his building? And why would the sign be in English when there are just two native English speakers out of dozens of tenets?
The more I see this sign, the more I want it to have been written this way on purpose. But of course, what one wants and what is reality often differ, and chances are good that this is indeed, disappointingly, just bad English.