Misplaced Stereotypes Can Ruin Your Trip To Japan
By Grace Buchele Mineta
On January 26, 2015
It’s always interesting showing people around your city. When I lived in Texas, my friends from out of town were usually disappointed by the overwhelming lack of cows, greasy steak restaurants, and cowboys in tight jeans and leather boots. Now, living in Tokyo, the stereotypes are even more amusing.
I’m sure at one time, a vending machine that actually dispensed (lightly) used panties was real. However, I’m pretty sure these days selling used clothing in a vending machine is illegal. Besides, all of that moved onto the internet a while ago.
Don’t even get me started on geishas. My husband and I saw a professional Maiko (an apprentice Geiko) once when we were in Kyoto. She was trying to walk to her place of employment, a traditional restaurant, but was flanked on both sides by curious tourists shoving their cameras into her face.
Stereotypes derived from anime, TV, historic movies, or video games can ruin your time in Japan. It’s dangerous to assume you know everything about a foreign culture.
I’ve seen far too many people arrive eager and bright eyed, from the moment they step off the plane for a study abroad opportunity, three month work-vacation, or English teaching job only to be disappointed at what they see.
To avoid frustration and disappointment, try to keep an open mind when you visit somewhere new. Trust me, it makes the transition much easier.