Opinion / Blog

Tourists and more tourists

( Updated: 2015-07-28 17:15

Chinese just adore traveling. In the 70s and 80s, tourists from a prosperous Japan flooded into big destination cities in the US, much like Chinese tourists today. Puzzled Americans observed them as they went about in large groups with cameras strapped about their necks, taking photos of everything from grocery displays to bed linens in department stores, herded by tour guides with megaphones. The Japanese loved to shop, but since they spoke little English, they didn't dare wander off and explore on their own, didn't mingle with the locals,didn't dare try the local cuisine, mostly eating Japanese comfort food at cheap Japanese restaurants. The long recession in Japan has since kept many of them at home. They've been replaced by the Chinese.

Today's Chinese tourists might bristle at being compared to the Japanese tourists of those days, but frankly, there are similarities. There are also some differences. Japanese have always prided themselves on good behavior, proper etiquette, and are careful not to cause offense or break laws. They're self-effacing and try not to draw much attention to themselves. So even if they did gawk and point their cameras at just about everything, they were otherwise well-behaved and quite content to stay together and obey their guides. Locals looking on were amused, not often offended.

When I was living in the western US in the early 80s, I was introduced to an 18-yr old from China. I think she was an exchange student whose father was a government official in central China. I was not at all impressed. She didn't seem very intelligent or polite, just greedy. All she wanted to do was shop at the mall; she was uninterested in anything else. I doubted she had arrived legally. At that time, there were still relatively few Chinese studying here. I wondered what sort of family she was from, how she even managed to get into an American school, and where the money was coming from.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Most Viewed Today's Top News