The tourism board of a northern Japanese prefecture can’t stand Chinese tourists farting all over their beautiful land any longer. Even when tasked with editing an informational packet for tourists to make it less condescending, they could not help but warn visitors:
Japanese etiquette is based on avoiding causing discomfort or nuisance to others.
Accordingly, the Japanese will avoid bodily functions such as belching or flatulence in public entirely, or perform bodily functions as discreetly as possible. Of course, these functions are a necessary part of human life, but please be modest and discreet when visiting Japan.
To combat the unflattering flatulence emitted by Chinese tourists.,the Hokkaido Tourism Organization began distributing these revised editions of their booklet on cultural advice for unaware tourists, called “The Traveler’s Etiquette Guide to Hokkaido.”
Asia Correspondent reports that the booklets were brought about by a perceived lack of common sense among Chinese travelers to Japan, especially voiced by Japanese hotel owners. A previous version of the booklet, “Common Sense When Traveling Hokkaido,” included advice on how to behave while shopping or staying in a hotel, as well as proper bathroom etiquette. This version was deemed patronizing by Chinese tourists.
Therefore, the team went back to the drawing board, doing away with some of the most condescending content, such as illustrations crossed out by obvious “X” marks, and replacing them with more descriptive sentences about why farting is so uncouth. 85,000 copies of the new edition have been published and spread across the region.
As the number of Chinese visitors to Japan skyrockets, the booklet reads more like a prayer for mercy. Earlier this month, Chinese tourists were ridiculed on Japanese TV for taking uncivilized selfies with Japan’s iconic cherry trees. In February, another two Chinese tourists found themselves on national television for a vicious catfight at the Tokyo airport, following a minor trolley collision.
Still, Chinese tourists believe that instead of ridiculing them, Japan should be thanking them. During the Golden Week holiday, Chinese shoppers spent $830 million buying up Japanese luxury goods, medicine and toilet seats.
The Japan Tourism Agency has confirmed that Chinese tourists made up 40% of total consumption by foreigners in 2015. Mainland travelers purportedly enjoyed a spending average of 238,800 yen ($2,393) in Japan — 100,000 yen more than other kinds of tourists. Chinese nationals also made up the second-largest group of visitors to Hokkaido during the summer travel season in 2015, with over 218,600 tourists.
We will have to wait and see if Thailand gets into the act by authoring a pamphlet telling tourists to not partake in group nudity on the beach.
By Matthew Patel
[Images via VisitHokkaido]