Rude tourists in Kyoto receive politeness lessons

The best example I saw of that was a enormously statuesque black guy walking along a crowded Beijing street. He was chest, head and shoulders above the crowd and magnificently well built. The crowd parted before him then turned, gaped, commented and took photos. He just kept striding along silently, wearing an amused smile while all the tiny people scurried about, way below his eye line … :smile:


A friend’s friend’s son had pretty similar experience. Went to Japan to a school. They made him a custom-sized desk for the class.

“Don’t touch old objects.” Hmm.

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I haven’t been on a vacation in many years, but I must have been doing it wrong because I have like a dozen photos from 3 weeks in Thailand, no pics at all for several trips to Mexico long before that, a few pics on a weeklong cruise.

There were 3-4 work related trips that I shot the hell out of, but it was work related.

Then again, many of those pleasure trips were before cameras in phones were worth a damn and before digital cameras I rarely bothered

Funnily enough, probably a lot of those maiko are other tourists who paid to get dressed up.

So… Most of us here shouldn’t touch ourselves?


Philosophical question: doesn’t the rudeness exist at the point where the “huge” person perceives the remark? Being polite is all about being mindful of other people’s feelings, after all, so when you can reasonably assume that they won’t understand, are you still being rude?

I like to listen in to what tourists are saying when they’re using a language I understand.
I’ve twice overheard small groups of American tourists discussing how they must be careful not to say anything offensive when speaking English, because too many locals will understand. I have not actually caught any American tourists saying anything offensive.
I don’t think Japanese tourists will be as cautious. Not many locals will understand them, after all.


In “ancient culture” nations (as opposed to “new” nations like America and others that started out as colonies), the word “old” doesn’t apply to objects younger than 100 years.

It’s still considered rude to touch yourself in public, though.


Exactly, and no, not at all. There’s no way for Japanese girls to know that a 6’5" white bearded guy would be fluent in their language, so they assumed there’s no way he could know what they were saying. So in truth they weren’t being at all rude. It’s kind of like the story in the Michael Crichton book “Travels”, where he meets a remote tribe in Africa and notices a group of kids trying to look up his shorts. He’s confused at first, but then realizes that the locals are all commenting on how tall he is (I think Crichton was 6’8") and the kids are trying to see if everything about him is large. But they see him as so alien and foreign that they aren’t being rude – they don’t think there’s any way he can figure out what they’re doing.


you’ll go blind.

that explains a lot

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I only did it until I needed glasses. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I would guess a good majority of the “maiko” people see in Kyoto and try to photo are actually tourists. (You can find shops that dress you as maiko and parade you around town for awhile). Real maiko typically try to stick to shortcuts and know to avoid tourist areas.

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When I lived in Japan, a local thoroughly chastised me for tying one of my shoes on a park bench,
however it is perfectly common to hack up an oyster and spit in front of people, or urinate against the wall. Also smoking and walking down the street.
Thought that was about 25 years ago.

I can understand the photo thing. In Nara I wanted to take a picture of a lady at a yaki imo (fried yam) stand and she waved me off because I guess all the tourists do it, but then it also stopped me from buying one.

That’s illegal now. You have to go to a smoking shed with clear signage declaring that smoking outside the tiny, nearly air-tight shed is prohibited.

Nice to get out of the rain though, and the logic is relatively sound. Although I suspect smoking on the balcony of a building, or on the sidewalk of a busy street isn’t likely to expose people to appreciable secondhand smoke.

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