Japanese Guides To U.S. Travel—Translated For Your Viewing Pleasure

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Travel guides: Is there anything as amusingly inaccurate as these wandering platitudes? And is there anything as ingenious as translating other countries’ travel guides about America into English? Luckily, some good folks did just that, with tips from Japanese websites.

Here’s a peek into the Japanese perspective on navigating our great land:

  • Watch what you wear. “In Japan, hip hop clothes are considered stylish. But in the United States, it is wise to avoid them, as you might be mistaken for a member of a street gang.”
     
  • Driving in America is surprisingly pleasant. “Manners with cars in America are really damn good. Japanese people should be embarrassed when they look at how good car manners are in America. You must wait whenever you cross an intersection for the traffic light. People don’t get pushy to go first. Except for some people, everyone keeps exactly to the speed limit.”
     
  • Understand the non-literal nature of American humor. “If you put your bent middle and index fingers of both hands in the air, you are making finger quotation marks. It means you do not believe what you are saying. You can also say, ‘or so called.’”
     
  • Be prepared for lengthy waits at grocery stores. “Cashiers are slow. Abysmally slow compared to Japan. I get frustrated when I’m in a hurry. Americans wait leisurely even if you’re in the special checkout for buying just a little something. I thought Americans were going to be quite impatient, but in reality they are extremely laid back.”
     
  • Recognize the limited vending options. “Vending machines in the United States just give carbonated beverages. Coke particularly. If you try to buy the juice from a vending machine when you’re thirsty, it’s just all carbonate. I pressed the button and thought it would be a nice orange juice, but carbonate came out.”

Now you’re prepared to enjoy your visit to the US of A. Keep your fingers crossed you’ll spot a rare and highly valued Aquafina at the Empire State Building vending machine! 

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