Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Japanese tourist

I love Japanese tourists. I think everyone loves Japanese tourists really. Except, perhaps, the Chinese. Or the North Koreans. But let’s park that for now. Having visited Angkor Wat over the course of a few days - one of the many 8th wonders of the world - and as with all of the truly magnificent man-made and natural sights scattered around the four corners of the globe, the Japanese tourists were there in force. And what a force they are. I love Japanese tourists for many reasons including their unfailing politeness (unless of course you’re in their way for that ‘money shot’ as the sun descends over the Grand Canyon, say), their general cheeriness and their sense of wonder - listening to their ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ as the history of a place is being described to them.
Where the Japanese tourist goes, the most up-to-date technology always follows which generally means a preponderance of telescopic lenses which generally stretch to, never mind zoom to, 200 metres. Yes, wherever you’ve been or whatever you’ve seen the Japanese tourist has been there and seen it before you and has the photos to prove it. In fact, today got me a thinking as I cycled from one wat to the next - Japanese tourists have been at whatever major sight I’ve visited since I began travelling. My theory is that they’ve been there snapping away at the different wonders of the world for many, many years. But here’s where it gets weird - maybe they’ve always been there snapping away down through the mists of time. Who’s to say that when Angkor Wat was constructed back in the 12th century that there wasn’t a gaggle (the collective noun for Japanese tourists has to be ’gaggle’, or, perhaps, a ’click’?) of Japanese tourists there, zooming in on the workers as they toiled underneath the sun, politely elbowing each other out of the way in order to achieve the perfect shot.
Who’s to say they weren’t there at Giza when the pyramids were constructed? Confusion as to how the pyramids were constructed? Just ask the Japanese for their negatives. That’ll clear it up. My mind raced through history - imagine Bethlehem on December 24th, Mary in the throes of labour pains, her hand clutched by Joseph, the baby about to appear when, suddenly, up pop two Japanese tourists behind the manger flicking peace signs at the camera whilst simultaneously oohing and aahing at the end product of an immaculate conception.
Or take it further back. Shit, the Japanese tourist could prove for once and for all whether or not God does exist and in the process save us another book by Richard Dawkins. I’ll bet they were there on the 7th day snapping away wondering why God was only working a 6 day week.

1 comment:

  1. Now I would agree everyone loves a Japanese tourist, apart from a dirt biker me and the missus once had to share a room with in Darwin, but I can't see Mary and Joseph allowing them into their barn. The reason being, if there were cameras back then they would be holding out for a deal with the celeb mag of the times, bouncers on the doors stopping unwanted snaps etc and who the fuck works 7 days, if there is a god the only thing he got right was the fekking weekend and thats too short