Bonuses. Not all companies pay them but when Japanese companies do so, they're usually paid out twice, once in the middle of the year and once at the end of the year.

Many Japanese company employees are getting their bonuses right about now.

Hiyoko-chan's surprise

"Should I give you a bonus?"

This was the caption on a Tweet posted today by Hiyoko-chan, the mascot character for Nissin's long-selling Chicken Ramen instant noodles brand.

In Japanese, it was 「ボーナスくれてやろうか?」bōnasu kurete yarō ka?.

The verb くれてやる kurete yaru for "give"—sometimes seen in manga and anime but not so much in real life—is used when talking to someone of lower rank or to someone you consider annoying.

In other words, the nuance is more like: "Here's that bonus ya wanted. Take it."

Hiyoko-chan looks rather threatening here, especially when you consider that he's holding that eggplant on a stick the way one might hold up a hammer or axe. This doesn't look like the kind of bonus you'd be happy to get...

But it all turns into a big joke when you realize there's a cringe-worthy pun involved:

In Japanese, 棒 means stick, and ナス nasu means eggplant. In other words, this is a bō nasu, a bonus...

Hiyoko-chan's Twitter account is known for viral posts that play up the contrast between the mascot's adorable, kid-friendly appearance and sometimes edgy content more suited to a mature audience. Whether he's picking up friends for a limo party or getting ready to rake leaves like a warrior, Hiyoko-chan gets noticed for his social media content.

Although the Tweet elicited a variety of opinions, one thing's certain. When it comes to cringe-worthy puns, Hiyoko-chan's an auberginius.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.