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The Ugly American Version 2022

What happened to the old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do?” Well, when it comes to Americans, especially American tourists in Japan, it’s just talk, a silly old wives tale it seems.

Never mind. Nothing to see here. Move along.

This is difficult for me to say, but I think it has to be said in public. Japan has opened for tourists, but the Japanese public seems not very happy about that. Even though the country is open for tourism, Japanese people still wear masks outdoors. I’m not kidding, like everyone wears masks. Old people, young people, little kids, even joggers, bicyclists, and tennis players out playing the game. The only people who don’t wear masks, it seems, are people taking their dogs for walks!

But American tourists come here and refuse to wear masks.

I’m not sure, but it seems the Japanese are getting a bit annoyed at this not following norms by tourists in Japan.

You see, there have never been any vaccine mandates here, no government ordered shutdowns (well, at least what westerners think is a government ordered shutdown. More like the government “recommended” things.) Just “recommendations” to wash hands, mask up, close shops early from the government.

By the way, many shops and restaurants found a way around the recommendations to close early and made all the customers “Club Members” after 8 pm and made a killing during the so-called “Crisis.”

Hooray for the creative capitalist mind! But that is another story.

The Japanese will generally do what the government recommends. Which seems weird to me, because it is basically the same government that got them into a huge assed war and two atomic bombs dropped on them and their civilian cities firebombed?

But that is another story, again, of which I keep my opinion to myself here.

So now they’ve opened the country up and foreigners are coming here, refusing to wear masks. But the Japanese people (like all of them) still do wear masks. Many shops and restaurants, hotels, etc., require masks here (they are privately run businesses and can make their own rules). But the foreigners refuse.

And then the Japanese will glare at them when they see them without a mask. This might make the Japanese dislike foreigners (more)?

I think it will.

So, the old saying, “When in Rome do as the Romans do” applies even to Japan. But Americans don’t think that way (they will say it, but not mean it). It is truly a part of the “Ugly American” story.

An American friend of mine sort of asked me to be her tour guide here when she comes in November. She asked about the masking. I told her what I have written here. But she adamantly still refuses to wear a mask, but wants me to take her around.

I trashed her email and did not answer. I can’t stop her from coming here now. I told her 2023 might be better, but no, she is coming here next month.

I spoke to a few foreign friends who are trying to make a living here in Japan, and they recommended that I not meet my friend nor take her anywhere. They said I can’t be going to places I frequent and have a few foreigners tagging along who refuse to do in Rome as the Romans do and mask up.

I love living here and I want to get along with the Japanese too. You, Mr. or Ms. Tourist can come here for a few weeks and leave, but I have to live here.

So, maybe it is stupid, and “masks do nothing to prevent infections.” But no mask, no tour guide Mike. There is no way I’m taking any foreigners  anywhere in Japan unless they mask up.

It’s just common sense here in the Land of the Rising Sun. It is just the way the Japanese do things. I didn’t make society, but I have to live in it.

And foreign people come to Japan because it is so “different.” Yes, That’s why, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!”

PS: I don’t think anyone likes wearing a mask, even the Japanese. I hate masks. So, I rarely venture outside now. I will go outside, maskless, when I start to see people without masks walking around. Until then, “No!”