Spinning Japan

Back to Contents of Issue: August 2004

One resident's solution to the tourism campaign.

by By Mark McCracken

One of the Japanese government's latest endeavors is to increase the number of tourists in Japan to 10 million per year by the year 2010 (see JI cover story, September 2003). But the problem with the advertising campaign designed to bring in those tourists is that it reinforces the same stale images of Japan that tourists already associate with the country.

The government would do better by taking the difficult step of directly addressing the negative perceptions potential tourists also have. Better yet, turn the negatives into positives, in a sense "spin" those ideas.

In an effort to help, here's a sample advertisement:

"Welcome to Japan, foreign visitors! Japan offers special treatment for its foreign guests. Take, for example, our 'No Foreigner' signs. These signs help you, our honored foreign guests, distinguish between those restaurants and businesses that deny you service based on your nationality from those in which your presence will merely be tolerated.

While many people can distinguish between two types of Japanese noodles, soba and udon, only a true connoisseur can distinguish between them after they've already been consumed. Enjoy walking the lively streets of our restaurant districts and participate in an impromptu game of 'What Food Was That?' Japan, where drunk adults often regurgitate in the streets, provides you with a chance to move from vomit pile to vomit pile developing your expertise in distinguishing partially digested food products. Within a few days you'll be able to identify chicken ramen vomit without breaking your stride.

From the age of 12 nearly every heterosexual male enjoys looking at pictures of naked women. During your visit to Japan you can expect plenty of exposure to this art form. On our trains, sit next to well-dressed businessmen and catch glimpses of comic books showing girls being violated in unusual ways. And since Japan never sleeps, the skin is always on display.

Ladies, doing the laundry after a trip to Japan can be tiresome. Take advantage of the unique interest some of our citizens have in your dirty clothes by selling your dirty underwear. Some used women's underwear fetches high prices on our underground market. You'll make money and lighten your luggage. And remember, less dirty underwear means more room for souvenirs. (Please note: pricing may vary based on underwear size)." @

Mark McCracken has lived in Kansai for over 13 years and actually likes living in Japan. He does, however, keep a close eye on the sidewalk in front of him to avoid stepping in unpleasant things.

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