Japanese question in Penny Arcade (bonus: Two Lumps)

Was reading through the archives of Penny Arcade, and came across this comic. The Japanese in that seems a little strange to me, but I’m still very much learning the language. The note seems to say 冬に来い, which has the kanji for winter and the hiragana “ni,” translated here as “in winter.” It then has the kanji for come. Even accepting that the Penny Arcade boys took some poetic license with translating “come” as “meet,” is that a proper construction of 来る?
Also just ran across this Two Lumps, in which Snooch (the fatty) wears a headband with the kanji for “starve.” Is there a tradition of these headbands in Chinese culture, or is it just Japan?

“冬に来い” (fuyu ni koi) means “come to winter”, or “come in winter.” “Koi” is the imperative form of “kuru”, to come.

Headbands with writing on them are very much a Japanese thing, stereotypically so, even.

Maybe the “strangeness” is due to the fact that the imperative isn’t used much in Japanese - it’s considered rude to order someone to do something. It’s pretty much restricted to speaking to young children or animals, I believe.

No, the strangeness comes from “kuru” being one of the very few irregular verbs in Japanese. Imperatives normally end in -o. suru -> shiro (to do), taberu -> tabero (to eat), okuru -> okuro (to send).

It’s true that you don’t use the imperative form very often, but it has its uses, when you’re in a position of authority, or when you really mean it.

Ah right. That’s the imperative construction I was forgetting. I always hear the -te kudasai, so that’s what I always use with my students (ie yonde kudasai, or more often just yonde). So kuru would be kite, right? I don’t remember telling anyone to come recently, so I could be forgetting.

In order of politeness, the imperatives for the verb kuru:
o-koshi-kudasai
kite-kudasai
kite
koi

The first one you hear very often in the context of “please come to our store.” The second is the safest, which is why it’s also usually the one people learn first. The third form is a shortened version of -te-kudasai, and is familiar. You’d use this with friends, family, or children. The last one is the most imperative – it’s an actual order. You use it when you’re in a position of authority, or when you have no interest in showing respect and you really mean it. You can actually go bellow that in the politeness scale, but from a grammatical point of view, it’s not an imperative form anymore. Picture a yakuza barking:

Oi! Kocchi kuru’n da! (Hey! You come here!)