Rails messing up FPDF / encodings?

This code seems to break under rails and the console (1.2.2 branch),
while working as expected under irb:

Did some debugging on this issue, and found that my strings are
getting mutilated by sprintf, which fpdf is using for string
substitution, i.e. this is a kcode/ruby issue, and has nothing to do
with rails.

Taking the discussion to comp.lang.ruby instead, thanks.