CHINESE tourists in a Japanese prefecture have been advised to avoid off-putting behavior such as flatulating and belching in public when visiting the country, according to a revised booklet by the Hokkaido Tourism Organization.
The Japan Times reported that the booklet was aimed at Chinese tourists after receiving complaints on the purported lack of common sense by their maritime neighbors.
An older guide, entitled “Hokkaido Ryoko Joshiki” (“Common Sense When Traveling Hokkaido”), had touched on topics regarding common courtesy, such as how to behave while shopping and when in a hotel, and sheds light on proper ways to use a bathroom.
Apart from instructions to not steal cutlery from restaurants, the guide also covered time-keeping, and the ever-so-offensive passing of wind in public.
The idea to come up with the guide was mooted last year following complaints from hotels on their unease over the behavior of Chinese tourists. The hotels had claimed cases where Chinese tourists were overly loud or left rooms in a mess, said an official at the tourism promotion body.
This comes as the number of Chinese tourists swell in Hokkakido in line with other parts of Japan. Chinese tourists make up the second-largest group of nationalities to Hokkakido with over 218,600 travelers between April and September last year.
Highlighting the booklet, the AFP reported that research by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that more than 100 million Chinese tourists went abroad in 2014, spending some US$164 billion.
Released in March, the revised publication “Hokkaido Kokoroe” (“The Traveler’s Etiquette Guide to Hokkaido”) had dropped “condescending” “X” marks on descriptive images, and offered written guides on what constitutes bad behavior.
“In Japan, you can buy products with a sense of security that they are good, without opening their packages,” read one ‘softened’ line in the revised booklet.
The booklet is also made available in English.
Despite complaints by a Chinese tourists on the earlier ‘patronizing’ guide, the revised version is still found to contain details that are perceived as condescending.
In its English version, one line in the booklet said: “Japanese etiquette is based on avoiding causing discomfort or nuisance to others.”
“Accordingly, the Japanese will avoid bodily functions such as belching or flatulence in public entirely, or perform bodily functions as discreetly as possible. Of course, these functions are a necessary part of human life, but please be modest and discreet when visiting Japan.”
The booklet is being distributed at accommodation and other venues in the prefecture. So far, 85,000 copies have been printed for distribution.