Bimbo means cheap or poor in Japanese though I cannot say if this is relevant to the bakery name. Cut-price?
Bimbo is a Mexican company, not Japanese.
I remember reading an article in Time or Newsweek many years ago about unfortunate translations and I think the Nova one was included, but the one that has stuck in my mind is the slogan “Come Alive with Pepsi” which they said had been rendered in Taiwan as “Pepsi Brings You Back from the Dead” which I find hard to believe unless it works there in their idiom in which case it shouldn’t excite comment. Maybe an ad agency had put it in English under their faultless Chinese-language slogan.
A pure urban legend with no truth behind it. First, the English slogan was “Come Alive! You’re the Pepsi Generation,” so the legend doesn’t even get that much right. Second, no one has been able to supply the actual Chinese into which it was allegedly translated. I write about it in Word Myths. The Coke/wax tadpole legend at least has a grain of truth behind it; Coca-cola can be interpreted as “bite the wax tadpole” in one Chinese dialect, although Coke never used that particular transcription in its marketing.
which they affectionately called “dope”.
Some sodas, or more particularly the syrup with which carbonated water is mixed, have been called dope. In fact, that’s the original meaning of dope. The drug connection comes from the syrupy mix of opium that is injected. But it’s from Dutch settlers in the Hudson Valley of New York, not African Americans.