Monday, November 27, 2017

You'll learn things you never knew, you never knew

Today I happened upon a blog post listing 10 Japanese Travel Tips for Visiting America. It's from February 2016, and I'm a fan of Mental Floss, so I've probably read it before. After a year as an American living in Japan, however, it's a really interesting read. Some things that stood out to me were their suggestions on laughter (Americans laugh loudly - Japanese do not) and slow cashiers (the Japanese cashiers are incredibly efficient). They are also not wrong about the dinner dishes and table settings. I definitely laugh more loudly than the locals (something that was really noticeable at the showing of Allegiance - no one ever laughed out loud except the four of us), but I can definitely get behind the efficient cashiers and flavorful foods. We've also discussed our love for Japanese vending machines.

Fortunately, even though I know I do things differently, I try my best and I feel like the Japanese are a patient people. They are more embarrassed personally when gaijin (foreigners) can't understand something and do it wrong, because they should have made it easier for you. I've never once felt shamed because I made a mistake, and I've made plenty.

I think that it is really key just to try. Just try, in whatever country you're traveling, to do your best and you'll be okay. Things will be different from whatever you're used to, sometimes wildly so, and expecting the same treatment or experience that you would at home will limit your opportunities to learn and experience new things. Learn a few words in the language, travel the way locals do, and just try! Really, what's the point of traveling otherwise?

Some people never leave home or try new things or do anything differently than they've ever done. And, really, that's fine. If those people are happy, then I am happy for them. But I don't understand those people. There is a great big world out there and I want to see as much of it as I can! I'm not as well traveled as some, but like I said - I try. And that counts for a lot.
Paris, Christmas 2007

London, Christmas 2007

Cairo, May 2010

Cairo, May 2010

Tucson, September 2010

New York City, 2015
Seoul, August 2017

Kamakura, October 2016


Giggles said...

When my brother travels he prefers to act like a local and do local things rather than like a tourist and do tourist things. You see the country differently that way. I hope most people are understanding of those who try. Some day I'll do more traveling too.

AmandaStretch said...

I like doing a combination, when I have time. His trip around the world certainly afforded him that time!