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Back from Japan 2011/5/28 04:02
hi all
I went to japan from 26 Apr till 11th May.
I really don't care about radiation, and I missed japan so much so i still went there. However this time, my experience isn't that great.

I go japan twice per year, but never during the golden week. This time, I regret I went there during this period (my bad, didn't realise it's GW untill the final week before departure)

So besides few of the restaurant not open, few close earlier,I found Japanese people no longer polite, that's the main reason why we don't have good experience. Usually japanese people follow the rules, but what i have seen this time is, people keep cut queues, pushing each other, and the shop keepers/staffs were inpatient to non-japanese speakers. (except the branded shop or expensive quality restaurant)

if you want to eat sushi, is never shortage of those. I was hoping due to shortage of turists, Tsukiji market will be less people, so i have higher chance to eat my sushi...but nah. I queued up 1hour+ last year, but this year....4 hours+!!!! seriously, I don't think japan needs turists.

I and my girl friends decide we should learn some japanese now cos we don't want to face rudeness anymore next time we go there. I mean come on, where are those politeness go???
by Terry (guest)  

... 2011/5/28 10:57
Too bad you had some bad personal experiences. I also often make the experience that the degree of good manners decreases on weekends and during holidays, when instead of the well mannered business people, you encounter more inconsiderate people who are not used to the good manners usually prevalent. Plus there is more stress due to crowds. It is the same on expressways when there are considerably more bad drivers on the streets on weekends than on weekdays. I think it is a wrong conclusion, though, to claim that politeness has decreased generally from before.

Furthermore, I don't think you are in a position to make conclusions about whether Japan needs tourists or not based on a simple 2-week stay in a limited number of places in Japan! There are lots of places outside Tokyo and the other big cities that are suffering tremendously under the disaster and are in bitter need of tourists. These places should not be the target of your revenge for your personal frustration.

The only conclusion that I think would be reasonable is: avoid popular sightseeing spots during Golden Week. Or at least: go with the right expectations.
by Uji rate this post as useful

... 2011/5/28 17:49
I don't want to sound mean,but what were you expecting going to a place during a holiday period? ? If you go anywhere in the world during a busy holiday period, you're going to get pushy people, people in a hurry, and workers who are too tired and rushed to pretend to be polite to customers anymore. It would especially be hard if you can't understand some of the customers.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience. But it's kind of rude to expect people to be polite to you just because you're a tourist. They're there to do their own thing.
by Tara (guest) rate this post as useful

gw 2011/5/28 18:27
have to agree with the above posters - you should have thought about planning your trip more carefully.

you chose one of the most important holidays of the japanese calendar to make your trip - of course everywhere is going to be extremely busy and the shop staff stressed to the max. the fact that you speak no japanese just makes it harder for them and you.

sorry to hear that your trip wasn't a fantastic experience but you came during a time when we're coping with the aftermath of the tsunami - some people had their pay cut, hours increased or decreased, food prices increased, electricity consumption is being curbed so we have to go without air conditioning even on hot humid days.. give us a break!

come back when it's not the peak of the vacation season, you'll enjoy it more.
by winterwolf rate this post as useful

. 2011/5/28 23:34
and my girl friends decide we should learn some japanese now cos we don't want to face rudeness anymore next time we go there. I mean come on, where are those politeness go???

OK, you go to Japan twice a year and haven't tried to learn the language? Talking about rudeness and politeness.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2011/5/28 23:59
why do i need to learn Japanese if I go to japan twice per year?? and why unable to speak japanese has anything to do with rudeness and bad manner??? I have many friends who lived in Japan teaching English that are unable to speak any of the Japanese,are they sound rude to you?

if you enjoy queue up 1hour plus and people keep cut the queue in front of you. And when it's your turn, the shop staff tells you sorry they don't accept anymore people, that's your own hobby.

nevertheless, I still contribute more than 1.5 million yen to japan this trip. For those people who fight back, how much did you donate/contribute since the quake then?

The news media says Tokyo is a ghost town now but it's not, it's still full of people, full of food, milk, yogurt, water.

After tokyo, i went to Osaka and Fukuoka to visit my friend, It's still very crowded as well.

I will go to Japan again maybe december this year or march next year.
by Terry (guest) rate this post as useful

attitude 2011/5/29 00:55
maybe the people you encountered picked up on the same attitude that your posts are drenched in and decided they didn't want to help you
by winterwolf rate this post as useful

Yes, you are rude. 2011/5/29 13:15
As a Japanese, I tell you that the kind of attitude you show about the basic courtesy to learn the language of your host (or the lack thereof) constitutes sheer rudeness and condescention that local people would not appreciate. I second Winterwolf's observation, and I anticipate you will encounter as bad an experience or two in December as you did in May as long as you'd act the way you did. Believe it or not, many of us can actually discern the disagreeable attitude that some people possess even if they do not intent to show it off. And tell your English language school friends that they are most likely not liked by many people around them. Only those who want to practice English with them gather around.
by .. (guest) rate this post as useful

.... 2011/5/29 13:39
"why do i need to learn Japanese if I go to japan twice per year?? and why unable to speak japanese has anything to do with rudeness and bad manner??? I have many friends who lived in Japan teaching English that are unable to speak any of the Japanese,are they sound rude to you?"

Actually, yes. it IS rude to live in a country without learning the language. Imagine a Japanese person coming to America (or wherever you live) and teaching your kids Japanese...but whenever you want to speak to him/her about your kid's progress, you can't understand him/her because she doesn't speak your language. It would be difficult. Imagine if one of the kids got into medical trouble and an ambulance needed to be called...but the teacher couldn't communicate with the ambulance officers because he/she didn't speak the language.

I'm surprised your friend hasn't encountered hostility amongst her Japanese peers about this. It's horribly rude to not even attempt to learn the language of the country you live and work in. All your friend is doing is taking a job that could have gone to somebody who is genuinely interested in learning Japanese and being a productive member of Japanese society.

by Mieko (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2011/5/29 14:09
so... the poster "two-dots" above, you're saying that everyone willing to visit Japan should spend some years in a Japanese language school before their trip to show basic courtesy? I agree that showing interest in learning basics of the language (hi,please,thank you,etc) while you're in the country AS A TOURIST is nice, but expecting more than that is unrealistic. Come on guys, don't let your love for Japan blind you. Of course, someone living and working in Japan is a different story. But please don't mix the original poster situation with that one of their friends.

@Terry: Just avoid crowded places (and golden week) next time? why would you queue that long? I'm sure you can easily find great alternatives to those places (restaurants?) you were trying to go. As an anecdote, last time I queued in Japan was for a popular (cheap) sushi chain restaurant but they had a machine to take a ticket with a "turn number" and the machine would tell you how much estimated time is for your turn. In my case it was 40 minutes and I spent that time in a bookstore near there.

In fact, I don't really get why a tourist would schedule a trip to Japan on golden week... it's the worst time to visit from my point of view. Some features of this week are: ridiculous high prices for many things of interest to the tourist people, millions of local people in holidays trying to travel around, traffic jams, filled-up accommodations, crowded transportation, crowded touristic facilities, etc. I guess you learned the lesson in the harsh way?
by vik (guest) rate this post as useful

Morons aren't Japanese. Just morons. 2011/5/29 16:45
Terry-san, sorry for the ill behaviors of some silly Japanese guys. You've had a bad day, no doubt.

Come again and avoid Tokyo kids and gals, some tend to be real morons these days...
by Please come again (guest) rate this post as useful

another 2 cents worth 2011/5/29 17:17
It's great that you weren't turned off visiting Japan because of the disaster, but.......

I agree with the other posters re: going to Japan TWICE A YEAR and yet not bothering to learn any Japanese. That's really embarrassing. As a foreign visitor, I believe it's my responsibility to be humble, not expect/demand people to communicate in MY language in THEIR country, and to the best of my ability learn as much of their language as I can. It's rude, arrogant and presumptuous to behave otherwise. If you don't feel up to learning Japanese, you have to expect that people may not wish to bother trying to talk to you and accept that fact. It's unfair to come on here and whinge about it. Choose which way you want it....
by Sal1980 rate this post as useful

... 2011/5/29 17:45
No, Japanese language skills are not needed by tourists, even if they visit twice per year. That is asked too much! I think we might have a troll or two among the previous posters.

What matters are not the language skills, but your attitude. If you visit a country without knowing the local language, you should be humble about it and be aware of the fact that you might be causing troubles. Only in international airports and major international hotel chains should you expect some staff members to be able to communicate in English. Everywhere else you are the liability.

by Uji rate this post as useful

more 2011/5/29 23:33
I just remembered more bad experience.
on the day 1 (that's before the GW), I forgot to bring my friend's address with me, i left it in my luggage in the hotel. I tried to ask people for help, I knew most of people have internet access with their mobile phone, (especially iphone), I need to access my gmail to copy the info down. There were no internet cafe nearby.

I spent 2 hours asking more than 30 people, no one is willing to give help. They either say "no english, go away" or just use the hand gesture to tell me go away. I was really lucky that there was a nice young lady willing to listen to me to explain my situation and help me (although she kept saying her english is bad). I really really thank her. In the past experience, if I have any problem in japan, usually people are really willing to help, showing how nice they are.

I told her if she ever wants to travel to Australia, i will do anything for her if she needs any.

by Terry (guest) rate this post as useful

.. 2011/5/30 02:11
nobody said that you should actually sit and do classes of japanese language but it is fairly logical that, since u visit so often, u should be able to pick up at least the basics- so at least u can help urself throughout each of ur trips and also help the people ur trying to communicate with. now if u refuse to do that- that's just rude.

also, walking around the streets and trying to get help or obtain some kind of info from people who might probably be running to get to work (or as usual to japan to run to get Anywhere) and even not trying to ease the situation with some japanese words here and there....yeah,that is annoying. they might want to help but not have time.. it also depends on with what kind of attitude u approach them.
thats my 2cents. . .
by Dafy rate this post as useful

. 2011/5/30 08:46
I agree no one is saying you should take a college semester of Japanese, but at least learn some few phrases to help you along, especially for someone who visits twice a year.

As for behavior, holiday season means increased domestic travel around the country, try going to disneyland at peak season.

DID you try going to a koban or asking a police officer for directions instead of trying to ask 30 random people?

I don't know where you were in that "2 hours" but it would of seemed quite easy to return to a hotel or find a hotel (any hotel) with a internet/business office, find a fedex kinkos internet cafe etc.

Also if they can't speak Japanese and they don't understand english too well, I don't know what you expect, for them to handover a mobile phone to a complete stranger? I'm not Japanese but sorry, someone asks for my mobile phone I"m not giving it to them, especially if I can't understand what they are saying or planning to do with it. A reasonable person going around for 2 hours could in theory come up with other plans on how to find the address they were looking for.

by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2011/5/30 09:14
2 hours? You must be exaggerating. The passing people must have thought you are trying to sell them something. A positive attitude and Japanese language skills would have helped you here. Don't blame others for forgetting your friend's address and not knowing the Japanese language and customs.
by Uji rate this post as useful

... 2011/5/30 11:07
They either say "no english, go away" or just use the hand gesture to tell me go away.

As someone who's been a regular traveller to Japan for over 25 years, I really find that hard to believe. I can imagine one or two Japanese people out of 30 reacting in either of these ways, but not all 30.
by Walkingfool rate this post as useful

... 2011/5/30 11:09
Perhaps you misinterpreted the response and/or hand gesture.
by Walkingfool rate this post as useful

. 2011/5/30 11:50
Probably people thought you were trying to trick them and steal their cell phones?

Trying to learn a basic local language never hurts. It is not how much or how well you speak but the EFFORT to interact with locals that counts.
by Ikuyo Kuruyo (guest) rate this post as useful

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