Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Puzzling Stuff, Japanese

Again, I'm amazed with Japanese. It is true that Japan is one of the biggest players in the global economy. But its advance stage of economy might have nothing to do with the rest of the world. Well, I shouldn't put it that way. Try this: Japanese do not care that much with foreigners. Maybe that's the better claim.

The evidence is, of course, anecdotal. But just look around in Tokyo. Even in the most international part of it, Roppongi, the Japanese characters still dominates. And the service sector people do not care to speak English.

Take in particular tourism spots. Don't you think it is a good idea if all the information and promotion is in English? Or at least the sellers speak it? Well, Japanese don't seem to bother too much. Many times you are struglling just to find how much you actually should pay, and you end up leaving without even entering -- out of frustration. It might make sense for Kamakura Shrine, because temple is supposed to be, well, traditional. But not really for a modern tourist attraction like Enoshima Aquarium. I'm not making this up, but they had this doplhin show with girls cheering and singing to the visitors. They sang and cheered everybody in Japanese. They even did some interactive game, yes, in Japanese.

So Anna and I asked my sister who had been living in Tokyo for five years about this. Her answer was striking. Japanese tourism spots are meant for Japanese tourists! I looked around, and she was right: I could only identify a handful of strangers, I mean, non-Japanese.

Then, everything made perfect sense.


  1. "But its advance stage of economy might have nothing to do with the rest of the world"

    Provoking thought, yet, the more you think about it, that's true!

    So, if a country want to be a significant player in the global market, it must have a very strong chauvinism view of itself? True with US of A and Japan so far ;)

  2. Yes, Rusdy. Isn't that interesting? At least Amien Rais will be very happy to know this.

  3. I think Japan engages a lot with other countries... but not in its home.. :)