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I found this interesting and thought I'd share.

 

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TOKYO (AP) ― Most Japanese inns and hotels that didn't have foreign guests last year don't want any in the future, according to a government survey released Thursday.

 

While the majority of such establishments do accept foreigners, the survey showed the country's more traditional inns are not as hospitable, even as the government mounts a major campaign to draw more tourists from abroad.

 

Japan's countryside is dotted with thousands of small, old-fashioned lodgings called "ryokans." Many are family run and offer only traditional Japanese food and board, such as raw seafood delicacies, simple straw-mat floors and communal hot spring baths.

 

Some such establishments have barred foreign guests in the past, leading to lawsuits and government fines for discrimination.

 

The survey carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs shows that 72 percent of establishments that didn't have foreign customers in the past year don't want any, and the majority are ryokans and hotels with fewer than 30 rooms. Such businesses said they are unable to support foreign languages and that their facilities are not suited to foreigners.

 

While more than 60 percent of the country's inns and hotels hosted foreign guests last year, the results indicate it may be hard to expand this number.

 

Tokyo spends about $35 million per year on its "Visit Japan Campaign," which aims to draw 10 million foreigners to the country for trips and business in the year 2010, up from 8.35 million last year.

 

Campaign spokesman Ryo Ito said in general Japanese inns have been accepting of foreigners, noting that some now take foreign currencies and have staff that can speak multiple languages. He said the dire state of the global economy was more of a concern.

 

"The business environment has become very harsh," he said.

 

The government survey was done by mail earlier this year, and 7,068 establishments responded.

 

I often feel when I hear local places talk like that that they are trying to convince themselves that there would be problems when in fact with a bit of a non-negative attitude there rarely is. But it does exist. Always good to find places that welcome you (but at the same time don't go over the top with it, which personally puts me off - just treat me like anyone else!)

 

smile

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Am not surprised with that really - especially in the countryside where they don't have much contact with foreigners. That kind of attitude prevails the world over - people are generally scared of the unknown or sometimes reputations precede people.

 

Moreover, some foreigners that I've met, without sounding superior, piss me off as they make no attempt to learn any basic phrases or words in Japanese, and instead they expect the other person to immediately understand/speak their language. Guess that really is true for English speakers mostly, which tends to alienate them even more.

 

However, what I have found, is that even if the owner doesn't, or maybe just a few words, speak English, if you try to communicate with them in Japanese, they are very warm and open and treat you like a normal customer.

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I can only speak from my experience in Niseko where a lot of Aussies put me to shame. They were like kids that had never been away from there parents and never had alcohol. No respect was shown to anything.

 

We made sure we followed all local customs and rules e.g not eating or drinking in the supermarkets, streets, playing with our chopsticks, double dipping etc.

 

I also learnt some very basic Japanese to get us by and always tried to use it (although it may not have been said properly). This year I am learning more and even putting sentences together.

 

I truly believe if you are going to a country LEARN a little of their language - learn there customs - TRY their food and most of all respect the country and the people you are visting. smile OTHERWISE STAY HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I wonder how the reactions differ between "foreign" (American/Australian/European) versus "foreign" (Korean/Taiwanese?Chinese)? I seem to notice that Japanese are less tolerant toward Asian foreigners since there is this paradox of having someone that looks like them but doesn't speeky the language, as opposed to giving a little more slack to someone who is obviously non-native.

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Who cares about saying it properly - simply the effort of you attempting to say it will endear you to them.


I find that quite a few Japanese do worry very much about trying to say things properly - and therefore don't say anything when they can't (and unfortunately at times might seem rather cold).

Though saying that when I go somewhere I always stay at a Japanese place (ie. rather then owned by and full of gaijin) and love it.
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Problem with learning a few small sentances pitch perfect is that the assumption is then made that you are fluent.

 

I have learnt the hard way to learn those few phrases well, but not too well....unless you actually can speak the lingo well.

 

But you are right RobBright .... it is always well recieved.

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Originally Posted By: snowhunter
I truly believe if you are going to a country LEARN a little of their language - learn there customs - TRY their food and most of all respect the country and the people you are visting. smile OTHERWISE STAY HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I've been to countries where I couldn't stand their culture and had no respect for the people or their customs. But I travel to see mountains and preferably climb and ski them. The local people and culture are just a bonus if I like them but not essential.

I've lived in Japan now for around 4 years and frankly don't really respect or like the culture that much. But hell I never liked or respected the culture in Aus much either. There's lots and lots of snow here and beautiful landscapes...that's the important thing for me.

In regards to this topic I think if the Japanese do want to attract foreign tourists and make money out of them then they need to learn english and they need to respect our cultural nuances just as much as we should theirs.

And snowhunter believe me that most Japanese are not nearly as shocked as you seem to believe about Aussie behaviour in Niseko. Aussies are far more judgmental about other Aussies than any Japanese I've met.
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Originally Posted By: Go Native
And snowhunter believe me that most Japanese are not nearly as shocked as you seem to believe about Aussie behaviour in Niseko. Aussies are far more judgmental about other Aussies than any Japanese I've met.


That is an interesting comment.

I am curious. Is it that the reputation preceded us and that locals are not surprised to find out it is true? Or is it that the behaviour is no better or worse than other nationalities?

As for Aussie being judgemental about other Aussies behaviour - yes - I can totally get that!
I would hate to rock up to a destination and be treated with disdain and reluctantly tolerated with the anticipation of irresponsible behaviour when that is not me. I would also hate to leave someone with a poor impression of Aussies based on thier interaction with me. So I can understand how a person would feel a level of national embarressment when a compatraite was behaving badly.



On the topic of tourism it does work both ways though. great if the tourist can learn some common phrases and also great if there is a push to have foreign languages spoken - especially in big hotels. Makes for a sharing of experiences rather than one culture 'accommodating' for the other with no reciprocation. For example - despite the Japanese Exchange students we hosted being here to use English we also made great efforts to use Japanese. They learnt more when there was an EXCHANGE rather than just an immersion.
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MB there just seems to be this perception of Japanese culture by Aussies that I believe is often totally naive and ridiculous. Sure there have been plenty of idiots in Niseko, but these guys would be perceived as idiots anywhere in the world. There's nothing that particular about Japanese culture that makes it harder for them to deal with drunken fools than anywhere else. Stay out to 3am in Kutchan some night and you'll see your fair share of drunken Japanese coming out of snack bars being loud and obnoxious.

 

I get the feeling that many Aussies seem to think that Japanese are all like Buddhist monks and nuns or something who are mortified by drunken behavior. As far as I can tell they think nothing more or less of it than we would in Aus.

 

 

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GN I am not a total prude and love a drink with the rest of them but I don't feel I have to yell at the top of my voice and use bad language and become intimidating. I always said thank you to the lifties and at the end of the day in my broken japanese see you tomorrow (but then again I do that where ever I am because I certainly wouldn't want to be standing out in the cold all day!!!

 

I think I did very well with what little language I learnt. I managed to ask where the bus station was when I got lost in Otaru and eye drops at the chemist. I did find that a few people I tried my Japanese out on did answer me in English but you know what I always got a smile never a roll of the eye. lol

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This is one of the very few times where one can actually see how backwards Japan can be. As a gaijin living in Kanagawa I have been turned down entrance to various establishments because I am not Japanese. I have even seen signs on doors that say "Japanese Only". Yes I agree that if its your business you have the right to deny anyone service. But blanket bans such as these are outright discrimination and I believe discrimination on any level is a sign of ignorance. Can you imagine what would happen if someone in the US or any other country for that matter, put a sign up in their business window that said "whites only".

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Yeah it is amazing that they can still get away with it. Last week after the Oktoberfest in Yokohama we went to an izakaya near to Yokohama station, I have been once before and my mate gets taken with his Aikido buddies (Japanese) but we got turned away with that nice smile that they always have while saying "sorry", said they were closing but it was 8.30 and the place was half full. I guess I should be more pissed off about shit like that

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Even after the Otaru onsen lawsuit this stuff still lingers and its not surprising now is it? Look at society here as a whole and it doesnt take long to realize how things really are in Japan. I have been turned away by bar out near where I live when it was my English dept coworkers. Our simple solution, we wont ever go back there again. We used to have parties etc there but now hit other places instead. They dont want my money, F'em. They wont ever see it. Id love to see pics of that hotel Loon. Send us the number and Ill make a few phone calls wink

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Agreed.

Papabear got the "No no no - NO Gaijin" thing in Sapporo in Jan this year - the big cross of the arms goes up, eyebrows knit and head shakes just in case you don't get the words...

He was directed to the one pub in the locale that would accept the big bad gaijin - and it was full of westerners.

 

Sad.

 

And so true that it would not be allowed to happen in many of our home countries. Good Lord - there are anti discrimination law suits over much much less.

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The Loon is right, it is pure ignorance from the Japanese people involved. The world is full of tourist sites where local customs, be it clothing, footwear, behaviour, etc. need to be respected. The vast majority simply tell people what to do and get on with it. Anyone choosing to stay in Japanese style accomodation wants a Japanese experience. It is pathetic, and in my opinion misanthropic, to assume that people trying to experience another culture will not be able to respect it. I would also argue that the less visitors can experience Japanese customs and traditions, the less reason they have to bother coming in the first place. The whole of Japan suffers because some old buffer has his head up his ass.

 

With pubs as opposed to hotels or onsens though, I think it can be slightly different because of the service charges. Japanese will understand and accept them without having to be clearly told. In my experience, some gaijin, in my case Brits especially, will simply refuse to pay and cause a scene when its time to pay up. This does happen. If it were my bar, I would get bored of that routine very quickly indeed. With mama san bars and hostess bars, the charges are far higher, so its probably for the best that some foreigners don't wander in them anyway.

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If a hotel doesn't have English info, site, signs etc, people should not expect them to cater directly to the people that need those things. I wouldn't anyway. I know some people who own places and they just get nervous at potential problems. Silly, and rather naive, yes, but the reality. As long as they treat people with respect/friendly... it's when they are downright rude that is not acceptable.

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Papabear got the "No no no - NO Gaijin" thing in Sapporo in Jan this year - the big cross of the arms goes up, eyebrows knit and head shakes just in case you don't get the words...


When stuff like that happens it's just so ott dramatic isn't it, like they're talking to a 1 year old. I can picture it now.
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Me and a friend are coming to Hokkaido in January, have car hire booked, and one of our options for accommodation was to just 'wing it', which is a strategy that has worked in other coutries we've travelled in.

 

Sounds like we should reconsider... sadface

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Well we do have some accomodation up in Furano, but were looking around the south-west as well, maybe one of the hotels around Lake Toya. Looks to be plenty of them, and far enough from the ski fields that vacancies shouldn't be a problem at that time of year.

 

If they're all going to stand in the doorway and shout "No Gaijin" at us though, we might not feel welcome.

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Toya-ko area should be fairly open in January. Spring/Summer is the peak season there. It's actually a little on the gloomy side in winter, but they still do the fireworks on the lake in the evenings on weekends. You can hit Rusutsu either on the way there or on the way back if you take the right road (don't remember the highway number off the top on my head now).

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Thanks for that, that was basically the loose plan I had in my head. I figured if there were enough hotel rooms there to host the G8 summit earlier in the year, we should be able to pick up a room somewhere.

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