Language and signs are the number one problem tourists have when visiting another country. So, to assist confused foreign travelers to get around, the government of Japan made 26 practical, yet, funny signs to help tourists feel more welcomed.
At the moment, these funny images are rolled out in the Iwate Prefecture in a campaign which the government calls Ten Ways To Make Travelers Happy. These illustrations feature a samurai warrior teaching travelers of proper Japanese etiquette and how to enjoy the culture of the country.
Director of the Iwate Prefectural Government's Morioka Regional Development Bureau, Takefumi Shimomukai, told Japan Times that they want to provide simple illustrations that can be easily understood by all, with a hint of comedy into it. "We wanted to start with something simple to use, something unique and fun that would spark interest," he said.
Some of the funny signs to help tourists include a Do's and Don'ts in public spaces like swimming pools, hot springs, hotels, and inns. For example, for tourists to enjoy their time in the waters, a sign says, "No glass. No drunk person." is put up to avoid any mishaps while swimming. Travelers are also advised not to wash in the waters of a public place, or run, swim and dive rowdily in the establishment.
Other illustrations hilariously portray a man biting a leaf signifying that the food is sage for vegans, a man breathing fire to know that the food is spicy, and a pig inside the bowl letting people know that the dish contains pork.
Other than the signage, authorities will also try to encourage locals to engage tourists even if their English is not perfect. Businesses were also told to put up signs that say, "We welcome tourists."
Shimomukai also shared that taxi drivers are scared of having international passengers in the cab for fear of language barriers. But with the signage, the government can show Japanese hospitality and prove tourists that Japan, even Iwate Prefecture, is a place worth visiting.
This is not the first time Japan helped tourists getting around the country with their odd and amusing concepts. On December 2016, a new Japanese tourism video shows travelers how to wipe their butts and use Japanese toilets in the country.
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