Thursday, May 04, 2006

What Tom thinks of our family

My family is going to Japan at the end of May for a 1-week vacation. My brother Tom is already there, studying abroad in Kyoto. Tom sent me some tips for travel in Japan. There are general tips for hotel, food, and then specific warnings for each member of our family.

From this you can tell what Tom thinks about each of us:

Niniane Stuff (that you ought to know but your little brother has a
sinking suspicion you will throw to the winds): 1) It is considered
extremely rude to eat while walking. It is also extremely rude to
eat outside. You shouldn't eat on public transportation, with the
exception of the Shinkansen during lunchtime. 2) If anyone gives
you their business card, take it with both hands, study it for a
moment, thank them, and then hold it until they're out of sight
before you put it away. If you crumple it or decline, they may die
of shock. 3) Rice and tea are not free, unless they serve you tea
in the beginning. 4) Decline any food they try to give you that
you didn't order, or they will charge you when you leave (fancy

Mom stuff: Bringing food around all day in a bag is a very, very
bad idea. It's just not done. No haggling. No shouting or raising
voice at people, they'll flip out and get their supervisor and
won't let you leave for a while, while they try to apologize to you.

Dad stuff: Ask for English tourist maps at train stations. Dad
will love planning stuff out and his skill will be needed, Japan
is sometimes a difficult place. Tea and water are usually free
refills, but negative on the soda and other drinks.

In summary, I go around eating 24-7: outdoors, indoors. I eat everything that people show me. If someone tries to properly meet me, I snub them so that I can continue eating. Meanwhile my mom is loudly bargaining with street vendors, and my dad is poring over maps and asking for free refills.

This is fairly accurate.


ArC said...

I take it you don't blow your nose, or at least your brother doesn't think of you doing so?

I don't much do it (unless, well, I'm sick and stuffed up) but apparently it's considered rude in Japan and so for the three days I was there thoughts of blowing my nose were rarely far from my mind.

On the other hand, no one ever gave me a business card, and I had packed like 50 just in case.

BTW, I wish I had brought a hat that said (in Japanese) "Sorry, I don't speak Japanese". I suspect being of Asian origin in Japan but not knowing the language is a slightly different experience from being a non-Asian gaijin.

Anonymous said...