I got this at the auction on Saturday. The only thing I could read was the first character - "4". It looked Japanese to me, but the auctioneer said someone told him it was Chinese. I didn't see any Hiragana or Katakana, so I didn't disagree, but it looked similar to a World War 2 Japanese military item (same style of wooden box) I got a couple of years ago.

I took it to Jenny at the Chinese restaurant, and she said, "Hey what you do with No. 4 Repair Kit"?

She looked it up on her notebook, and found a picture of it, but no info. She also suspect it is Japanese, not Chinese.

Went home, after a while (I am missing my Chinese dictionary) but I was able to decipher the characters on the box front and try to translate online: 四 號 螺 範 匣

四 s four; 4
號 ho ordinal number; day of a month; mark; sign; business establishment; size; ship suffix; horn (wind instrument); bugle call; assumed name; to take a pulse; classifier used to indicate number of people
螺 lu spiral shell; snail; conch
範 fn pattern; model; example
匣 xi box

I was searching for it using the Pinyin, on Google translate - s ho lu fn xi - and then I tried "si4 hao4 luo2 fan4 xia2" and no luck. The translations came out as "spiral fish" and other nonsense. Baidu.com did not reveal anything, either. Nor Bing.

Finally light bulb turned on, and decided to paste the 四號螺範匣 into the search engines.

What's odd - searching for 四號螺範匣 on Google, Baidu and Yandex (for images or картинки) yields bizarrely different results - Baidu shows meals of fish and snails, Yandex shows Pretty Japanese girls, and Google, finally, reveals the Japanese tool kit.

What does say about our different cultures?

Still haven't figured out exactly what it is - it does look like a "tap-and-die set" except for long holding tool on top. The tap and die, if anyone is unfamiliar, is used to make new threads in steel or metal so as to make use of bolts. So it could be used to repair damaged steel instrument or weapon. But for what type of weapon, who knows?

IMG_2291.JPG

IMG_2293.JPG

IMG_2294.JPG

IMG_2295.JPG