Foreign expert tries to line up cushy government commission

From Christmas Day in the Japan Times, someone perhaps trying to set himself up as the next Alex Kerr fixes Japan’s tourist industry. Reading the article I got a similar feeling as to when I read Kerr’s Lost Japan, of a man a bit too full of himself and his achievements of knowing Japan better than the Japanese. 

“If love for Japan is indeed a worldwide trend, as Japanese people themselves say, why is it that only 13 million people visited the country this year, while in France they had some 83 million visitors?”

Umm, does anyone not know the answer to that one?

Most have little real engagement with Japan during their visit. Only 3 to 4 million of the total, he said, truly explore the nature and culture and form a real connection.

Sounds a bit like a “No true Scotsmantish Tourist” argument, and 25% sounds like a healthy percentage to me, indeed if anything is greater than I would guess if “true exploration” meant venturing further than Ginza department stores and a few photos at the Meiji Shrine.

Its priorities should include […] installing signs in English that have been proofread by a native speaker

In particular by this guy’s company, perhaps? Korean and Chinese would be more important, of course.

producing souvenirs that match foreigners’ lifestyles

I agree than most often souvenirs appear to be targeted to Japan day-trippers, but just last night on the news I saw that in New Chitose Airport, mainland Asians were buying snack boxes by the carton and delaying flights as the baggage handlers couldn’t keep up.

Many souvenir dishes, for example, are simply too small to be used in foreign cuisine.

“Western”, not “foreign”? Expecting a chawan to be super-sized doesn’t quite feel right to me.

Tourists place no great value in some of the qualities Japanese often brag about, including safety, clean streets and the punctuality of public transportation, Atkinson said.

Really? Getting to where you are going on time without being robbed is of no great value?

These things “may be interesting to see once or twice. But visitors don’t come back” to see them again.

That’s different from “no great value”, and visitors don’t tend to come back if they feel unsafe.

It is “embarrassing” for Japan to be proud of such small things while its government is not spending enough to maintain and restore cultural properties, he added.

In other words, “I want my government contract!”

Fortunately, Japan is blessed with four assets any nation aspiring to be a successful tourism destination must have: a culture, a history, a mild climate and glorious nature, Atkinson said.

“A mild climate”? I’m freezing my nuts off here! The list sounds a bit four season-ish to me.

“If they can collaborate more with foreigners and listen to a bit of what they say, I think Japan can be more attractive,” he said.

Preferably foreigners (a) from target countries and (b) without vested interests. I’m available!

Leave a comment ?


  1. Ken on another phone

    BTW folks, due to an outbreak of rabies, I have instituted checks for open proxies. If you are encountering difficulty posting, and if your name is not CJ, please let me know via email, Google+ or Facebook, etc.

  2. @COYP:

    Racist wrote:

    I kind of hold that as a mark against Japan whenever I go to see the doctor, and…they all look and sound the same, and have the same names.

    And remember boys and girls, this is the low watt light bulb that accused me of racism… because I explained that ハーフ (hāfu), is defined in most Japanese dictionaries as meaning “mixed”, “mixed-race” or “mixed blood” (混血児) wrt people.

  3. Switching the ethnicities around in the post so others can see how massively racist the Debitards are: regular and Racial/Ethnic Supremist “Chester” wrote something like:

    I had an American doctor as a kid. I’m sure my mother and I did or said some inappropriate things about him at some point, but I cannot remember my mother EVER treating me the way some people in Congo treat me.

    And all I can think when I hear the immigration debate in Congo is, “If Congo is such a great place to live, like the government seems to think, where are the American doctors?”

    Because my allergist was one of the kindest, most intelligent men I ever knew as a child. He was super serious, and never laughed – but he was so warm and kind, and attentive.

    The doctors I’ve encountered in Congo have been cold, careless. Of course, last time I was in the France, the doctor I talked to was pretty much the same, so maybe I was just lucky as a kid to have the world’s best allergist.

    Still. I kind of hold that as a mark against Congo whenever I go to see the doctor, and…they all look and sound the same, and have the same names.

    If there were a John Smith in my neighborhood, let me tell you that I would never go anywhere else.

    That comment would be right at home on the forums.

  4. KT88 (serial extrapolaytahrz!)

    Man, dat faithnomore (how dare he sully the name and with a new album out this April…) is a nob.

    I’m with whoever. Last time I had an order stuffed up, I simply said: “Umm, this isn’t my order/I didn’t order this”, college age baito-girl leaped into action by checking the receipt, reconfirming and bringing the correct order.

    Funny thing is, at chain restaurants (in fact most restaurants) like the one fnm visited, they always confirm the order straight after it is made. It’s all on the receipt.

    Me suspectah, dat FoolNobmMoron has yet to learn Japanese after 20 years… I’ve seen ’em and I know you have too. Accents (waaayyyy) worse than that Aussie (who is atrocious) d00d on zipFM on sunday mornings…

  5. To be honest I think and sincerely hope faithnomore is pulling the doctors leg not because of the strop, everyone has bad days (although it must be said debito fanboys have more than most and I’m sure the baito chick and manager are used to man child customers and forgot about the hissy fit 5 minutes later.

    It’s that he was proudly banging on about doing this in front of his kid. Do these people really exist? Folks who hate the Japanese but raise children in Japan, kids who no matter what their ethnic background will identify as Japanese as it’s where they were educated and where all their mates are from. Has anyone ever met a gaijin like this?

    I have a few friends back home of Indian and Chinese descent…their fathers did for the angry immigrant dad stereotype to some extent but it was more pushing the kid to take advantage of the new countries opportunities (better schools ect) quite the opposite of showing contempt for the new country.

  6. Chester on the other hand we don’t have to worry about, if memory serves he’s the one who went mental at his Japanese girlfriend because he suspected she was an apologist..I’d imagine he is very unlikely to breed.

  7. @COYP:

    Has anyone ever met a gaijin like this?

    Yes, I have. His name was David Aldwinckle. What he did is documented in the book “Japanese Only”.

    Lemme put it this way: if I used MY child as a guinea pig / canon fodder for my little activist hobby, my wife would divorce me. For placing my child in a situation which I knew beforehand would be traumatizing.

    And I wouldn’t blame her. I’d deserve it.


    P.S. The Japan Times is full of examples of gaijin traumatizing their children in the name of social justice that exists only in their non-Japanese-understanding head:

  8. Ken on another phone

    @Ken on another phone: Arse, it didn’t work very well.

  9. Ken on another phone

    OK, trying another method. The Reply button seems to be broken, and if you encounter other problems, please let me know.

  10. @Ken on another phone: Hmm, only broken on mobile…

    Anyway, Jim Di Griz risks blowing his cover by misspelling Doctor:

    [I]t allows him to use ‘Professor’ in front of his name. Maybe his ego and vanity demand that he has a title other than ‘mister’, the use of which (whilst hurting his image on the public speaking circuit), would (I imagine) hurt his pride much more.


  11. KT88 (cynic 'im bowoi!)

    Pretty sure at this point in the game JDG is trying to get caught. I mean, there’s only so long one can slave away without getting due credit.

    I imagine at this point the joke has well exceeded itself and JDG is at a crossroads…

    1. Keep laying it on.
    2. Amp it up to get caught (imagine the scorched earth “redacting” that would ensue)
    3. Evolve, change usernames, get multiple (ie – start trolling himself, Debito-wiki… err… sockpuppet style)
    4. Throw in the towel

  12. In other news, a former contributor regrets participating in the Ex-pat Community of Japan Hate and posting to

    I can relate completely:

    (funny, just re-read that. Despite being years old, the points made still hold up through time)

  13. Ken on another phone

    @havill: interesting find! I remember the original post, so it’s good to see that now he is older and wiser he takes a cool-headed look back at his experience.

  14. “As a scholarship grantee, I came to Japan as a guest, and I expected to be treated accordingly.”

    Sorry Googles. A bitch is a bitch no matter how hard she apologizes.

    Stick with trawling Ashley Madison instead of lurking obscure Slovenian blogs years after the fact.


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