September 25, 2022

"Kyoto’s famously polite residents began to express their displeasure with uncharacteristic bluntness."

"In Nishiki, signs popped up among the [market] stalls admonishing tourists not to eat while walking, a pet peeve in Japan. Neighborhood shoppers, tired of the crowding and commotion, began going to supermarkets, and some long-established sellers closed. Even Buddhist monks lost their cool. In autumn and spring, when the streets became clogged with tourists gawping at pyrotechnic bursts of maple leaves and cherry blossoms, 'people couldn’t even leave their houses. The city was barely livable,' said Kojo Nagasawa, the secretary general of the Kyoto Buddhist Federation.... At the beginning of the pandemic, 'people in the city were saying, "We’ve returned to the old Kyoto, isn’t that great?"' said Toshinori Tsuchihashi, the director of the city’s tourism department. But, as the economic damage mounted, residents 'have come to recognize tourism’s importance.'... With no legal options for instituting hard limits on visitors.... the initiatives mostly consist of soft measures like trying to educate visitors in Kyoto’s traditional 'morals' and hoping for the best. In that spirit, Nishiki market has decided it will try to encourage tourists instead of admonishing them, exchanging its list of 'don’ts' for a list of 'pleases.'..."


Tom T. said...

For a year in college, I lived on the first floor of a picturesque dorm in a historic area. During the fall and spring, when we would get up and open our blinds on the weekends, invariably a Japanese tourist outside would take our picture.

Spiros said...

Wealthy Chinese and Russian tourists are the new ugly Americans.

Lurker21 said...

Eating, or drinking, while walking is an American tradition.

Personally, it makes me feel like I am more coordinated than I actually am.

Original Mike said...

I visited Kyoto in 1991. I found it very moving. I don't think there was a crush of tourists then.

Narr said...

IIRC, Kyoto was taken off the nuke-target list by Henry Stimson, who had been there. Good on him, and the people of Kyoto.

Robert said...

Strikes me as interesting that we see two articles on public/personal behavior. Coincidence or trend?

tim maguire said...

If only the tourist’s money could come while the tourists themselves stayed home. That would be best.

Kate said...

Venice, the most beautiful, expensive, and rude city in the world, hates tourists. Signs in business windows, written in English, say "We don't give directions". (And no map is accurate; it's impossible.)

The Japanese can never be the Italians, but they should embrace their own idiosyncrasies. It's part of their cultural appeal. Give the tourists a hard time and charge through the nose.

Joe Smith said...

Some basic rules when you visit Japan:

-- Don't eat while walking around. Find a park.*

-- Never litter. There are no public trash cans but every convenience store will have trash cans (and clean restrooms).

-- Don't smoke while walking around. There are many designated smoking areas scattered around. Or go to a bar. Still a lot of indoor smoking there.

-- Never (and I mean never) talk on your cell phone when on a bus, train, or subway.**

-- Don't jaywalk.***

-- Don't tip.

That's it. All you need to know.

*If you're at a market and buying snacks, it's OK. **In almost 2 years I only saw this happen once. ***Late at night or early in the morning the temptation was too much. When Japanese do it they are 'bad boys' : )

rcocean said...

Yes, its tough living in a tourist town. Which i did for a year. I'd love to visit japan but i will go in the off-season, winter I assume.

n.n said...

Culture is aborted with social progress, so realizing this monotony of divergence, they instead appeal to people's better nature to make the right choice.

rhhardin said...

Chopsticks don't work when walking.

n.n said...

A fine line between cultural appropriation and destruction?

Buckwheathikes said...

You filthy Giajin need to get your fat asses back to our island and give us your money.

Not the greatest tourism promotion of all time.

Hard pass.

tcrosse said...

Is it permitted to walk and chew gum at the same time?

BudBrown said...

sound of one hands slapping foreheads

Joe Smith said...

'You filthy Giajin need to get your fat asses back to our island and give us your money.'

The Japanese love Americans and American culture.

But they also love their own culture and don't want us disrespecting it.

Not unreasonable.

Too bad we don't respect our own culture.

Leland said...

Do not bring your whole self to Kyoto.

Interesting what does and does not get an etiquette tag.

Old and slow said...

I'm quite certain that you won't be missed Bucky...

Howard said...

What is it with Kyoto and Protocols.

walk don't run said...

When in Kyoto do as the Kyotans!

That is one great truism worth following when you are a guest in another country or culture.

n.n said...

But they also love their own culture and don't want us disrespecting it.

Visitors would do well to appropriate the Kyoto culture while in Kyoto.

MadisonMan said...

I would not have known that it's frowned on to eat while walking.
Now I'm trying to think if I do that here in Madison. Only cookies. And I'll drink coffee while walking. Is this rude in Kyoto? Well, good thing I'm not there. Because travel, I've been told, is bad for the climate.

tim maguire said...

I used to live in a part of Brooklyn that attracted tourists. None of that was any big deal. The big deal was the street closures for filming and the accompanying loss of parking spaces.

I didn't mind the people taking pictures of my house or the model posing in front of a brick wall across the street (though I did want to throw a rock at the photographer who caused a huge jam up on the pedestrian section of the Brooklyn bridge because he just had to shoot on a summery Saturday afternoon), but having the intersection at the end of my street closed for 3 days because some designer needed a couple hours for a shoot--that was angering.

JohnnyMac said...

It sounds like the people in Kyoto, like the inhabitants in pretty much any popular tourist destination, would really rather the annoying visitors stay home and just send their money (cash in a plain brown envelope).

Big O's Meanings Dictionary said...

professionalism - definition


the competence or skill expected of a professional:
"the key to quality and efficiency is professionalism"

the practicing of an activity, especially a sport, by professional rather than amateur players:
"the trend toward professionalism"

Notes: Competence and skill are attributes limited to no one set or excluding any set of people.

Some seek to redefine the word in modern social justiace terms, portraying professionalism as an attribute encompassing class and race.

Frederick Douglass would disagree.

bobby said...

Aren't they being uninclusive by failing to respect the rude culture(s) of the visitors? If I criticize a Chinese person for hawking on the sidewalk here in my home state, I get yelled at for trying to impose my culture upon them.

Original Mike said...

I don't eat while walking because it makes it hard to enjoy either.

Paddy O said...

"eating while walking"

This made me laugh. It's a total pet peeve for me too, but I've never mentioned it because I figured it was just me.

I think it's because eating for me is a time to stop all I'm doing for just a bit and enjoy the food. Eating while walking seems to be emphasizing efficiency. I'm also bothered by people who just eat while they stand, so that's probably is just me and also is another reason I tend to not like cocktail parties.

Paddy O said...

"would really rather the annoying visitors stay home and just send their money (cash in a plain brown envelope)"

I think it's more like anyone who invites anyone to their home would really rather that invited guests treat their host's home, family, and customs with respect.

Being a tourist isn't an invitation to be boorish and gauche, though sadly many take it that way.

ken in tx said...

In Korea and Japan, do not blow your nose in public. It's considered about the same as passing gas on purpose. It's only to be done in the toilet.

Mary Beth said...

Kyoto can be more like Rome (although, I'm not sure it's helped.)

"The rule [eating ice cream while sitting on the steps of a fountain] was among those updated from legislation first drafted in 1946, which included a ban on wheeled suitcases and buggies being dragged down historic staircases, walking around bare-chested, swimming in fountains, and pub crawls."

effinayright said...

I lived happily in Kyoto for 4 1/2 years, quite a while ago. Taught English to keep a visa, wrote advertising for Dentsu, then Japan's 2nd largest ad agency, and studied the Japanese language.

The latter skill got me into the computer business when I came home. Japan became my area of focus, which later broadened to the entire Pacific Rim. I used the money I saved in Japan to buy my first house here..

I learned about not walking around while eating early on: there's even a pejorative word for it: arukigui . "Aruki" meaning walking, but "gui" refers to ill-mannered gulping/snarfing down something.

The worst tourists then were what you might expect:

* "Can't speak Japanese? Talk louder!! Then SHOUT!

* Wave "good American money" around.

* Remind them just who it was who won the war.

At the other extreme were those who tried to ingratiate themselves with the locals.

Sample greeting" Hi there, little yellow brothers!"

I once saw a young America guy clopping down the street in wooden geta, wearing a happi coat and a flu mask.

Pathetic. The Japanese used to describe such morons as "henna gaijin" , "weird foreigners".

effinayright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
effinayright said...

My best friend, a retired Army bird colonel, is in Japan right now. He's staying on a joint US-Japanese military base, where at 4PM each day they play the "Star Spangled Banner" and the Japanese anthem, called the "Kimigayo."

The latter's unofficial English translation is, " "His Imperial Majesty's Reign".

It is an unusually short anthem, its lyrics dating back about a thousand years.

My friend wondered if the anthem's wording had been changed after WWII.

I told him it had not, and offered my own translation of the lyrics to prove it. Here it is:

"His Imperial Majesty's reign

will endure forever

None dare oppose Him

GI, you die."

Balfegor said...

Following the etiquette of whatever place you're visiting isn't just respectful to the inhabitants; it's respectful to other tourists too. They're going there for a cultural experience after all. If they wanted to experience New Yorkers and Shanghanese braying in their ears and shoving people around, they'd go to New York or Shanghai. And if they just wanted a couple buildings as a backdrop, there's probably a Las Vegas casino that would do that fine.

typingtalker said...

Sell tickets or season passes. Like Disneyworld.

Kai Akker said...

---I don't eat while walking because it makes it hard to enjoy either.

Exception: eating a slice of pizza on a cold winter night.

Narr said...

"GI you die!"

Defeat is resistless!

Advancing on the Boggies was an enormous Narc, brandishing a flaming faggot. "Yankee you die!" roared the Narc, "Yalu! Yalu!" shrieked the faggot.

(H/t Bored of the Rings)

bobby said...

Eating while walking is the entire basis of the Minnesota State Fair. But it becomes disrespectful if I do it in Japan?

Sorry, no sympathy. I can walk (carefully, well-equipped) through Minneapolis and see many many people doing things that were always culturally inappropriate here - and they didn't even bring tourist money - but I'm supposed to be sensitive and accepting that other people might not live as do I.