Trip report from a Japanese reader :

Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:51 PM
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Trip report from a Japanese reader :

Although it is a bit belated, I would like to present my trip report to show my gratitude to the forum readers who game a proper advice. Thanks to your advice I was able to havee a pleasant trip without awful incidents. I conclude that the local people did not regard me a tourist because I was often asked for directions.

New Orleans
I stayed at Royal St. Charles Hotel on the main street; the Canal Street located just blocks from the French Quarter.
It was quite comfortable to stay for a reasonable price, $89 per night. Before visiting there, I was afraid to see the scar of Hurricane Katarina, but I was relieved to not to encounter the devastated condition at least in the area I got around, except the dozen of people living in makeshift refuge of tents under a freeway overpass. It was reported that they are recalcitrant drug and alcohol abusers who refuse to move to the designated shelter.
As New Orleans is known as American most walkable city, I enjoyed taking a walk around downtown with an aid of famous street car with a 5-doller 1 Day Vistour Pass which enabled me unlimited riding.

To me, who works for the automotive industry, Detroit is a must-place to visit once in our life, like Mecca to Muslims in a sense. Incidentally this year 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of Ford Model T that more than 15 million models have been sold by May 26, 1927, the formal end of its production. I was very lucky to choose Dearborn Bed & Breakfast with $85 per night located in the beautiful residential district outside downtown which is infamous for dangerous city. 
One thing I was annoyed in Detroit most was the total lack of public transportation, contrast to New Orleans. It is natural that everybody moves around by car, no need to say it is called Motor City. When I walked along the road, passers-by saw me curiously, as no one else walked there. Thanks to walking several hours a day, I not only felt the size of city and beautiful green beltways physically, but also I had a good exercise that my weight reduced about 4 pounds. I do not forget interesting words of fast foods shoppers, Here? to go? instead of Eat here? or Take back?
I did not know that it is a common usage in the USA.

I would like to itemize my impression about this travel.
1. Business Condition ; I am relieved to see that the economy is in a good shape though it was reported that the United States was in recession because of the subprime mortgage in crisis. I saw no evidence in the city that I had visited.

2. Polished Manner ; I experienced the graceful civilian's manners. For example, when I tried to cross the intersection without the signal, the driver approaching the intersection would slow down his car so that I am able to cross the intersection safely.

3. Arrogant Employee ; On the other hand, I often encountered bad manner of the employee in the service industry (clerk, flight attendant, airport official and etc.) toward customers.
For instance, when I ordered items in a fast-food shop, a female clerk said the amount of money in rapid speech. I was puzzled how many dollars to pay, she threatened me tapping the display of the cash-register with finger violently as if saying what are you doing, do you see the number ? If she behaves same way in Japan, she is definitely fired on the spot at once. In addition, I had to gave up complaining that the beverage I paid was not in the bag because too many customers lined up in front of her, only one order-taker in the shop..

4. Heart-warming Treat; I had a heart-warming treat which symbolizes American’s generosity when I tried to enter Automotive Hall of Fame.
Though a temporary closing sign was displayed at the entrance that day, I was lured by a photograph of Toyota family decorated on the hallway. Through the revolving door I entered the hall and excused the receptionist that I came from all the way from Japan to visit there. He permitted my admission without fee saying that you may see the exhibition quietly if you do not disturb the ongoing conference. I was impressed with the flexibility which we should learn.

5. Foods Problem ; Though various dishes might not be able to be tried by the solitary tourist, both the quality and the quantity were regrettably not fit for me. I was annoyed with oily dishes with two- person portion if served in Japan. Finally, I found the solution to buy foods from a delicatessen shop so that I confirm the quality and the quantity in surprising cheap price, such as a few dollars. In conclusion, I learned strongly that it was a difficult to adjust to the American food at once for me who had become accustomed to plain Japanese food for 60 years or more.

Although my trip was too short, 6-day and 4-night, I had a memorable experience again after 7 years I visited the US in 2001. Thank you everybody, see you again.

Kunio is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 05:50 PM
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Thank you for your interesting observations.

Come back soon!
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 06:22 PM
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Thank you for your report, Kunio. It was most interesting. Come back soon!
cmcfong is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 06:25 PM
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Thank you for your trip report.

A visitor's view of this country is always of great interest.

Hopefully you will be able to return in the not too distant future.

Myer is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 09:11 PM
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Now I understand why Japanese tourists in Waikiki eat at Japanese restaurants!

Found all your observations very interesting, as I've experienced Japan as a Japanese-speaking American. Your point about flexibility regarding rules is well taken. And I've encountered the same difficulty understanding fast, slurred speech in my own country, especially in places with distinct regional accents.

Congratulations on a successful independent trip taken with a great attitude!
mari808 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 09:38 PM
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Kunio, you trip report is delightful. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I'm sorry you encountered some rudeness, but I'm glad you also encountered politeness and flexibility.
aloha is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 11:06 PM
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Hello Kunio, I am always interested in how non Americans view and feel about visiting the United States. I so enjoyed reading your interesting and informative post regarding your trip. Thank you for sharing your viewpoint. And I hope that sometime in the future you will be able to make a return trip and that when you do that you will be able to visit San Francisco. Best regards.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jul 4th, 2008, 05:58 AM
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Thank you for your interesting
trip report. Glad you had a
(mostly) wonderful trip.

Regarding food portions; it is
a problem with which Americans
contually struggle. While the
majority know portions are twice
the normal *serving* size,
the premise of *getting more
for your money* seems to
supercede all logic.
*Super sizing* represents a
bargain for too many.

Thanks for visiting and come
back soon!
wanderluster is offline  
Jul 4th, 2008, 07:48 AM
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I too enjoyed your report. What is interesting is that service people all over the world (recently in Europe) don't understand that we struggle with language and local customs. I too would encourage a visit to San Francisco or Seattle where you would feel very much at home with choices of food.
johnthedorf is offline  
Jul 4th, 2008, 08:18 AM
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Thank you for your trip report, it was enjoyable reading. It's always interesting to see ourselves as others see us!

(And while the phrase in fast-food restaurants is "take-out", it would behoove many of us, I'm sure, to tell them to "take-back" instead.)
NorCalif is offline  
Jul 4th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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Thank you for your excellent report and sharing the URL's where you stayed. Your English is excellent.

I am very sorry that you did encounter some rude service employees but pleased to hear you stayed positive and had a good holiday.

Please come back.

SandyBrit is offline  
Jul 4th, 2008, 11:53 AM
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Interesting choices of cities. I'm glad that you visited my favorite city, New Orleans. It sounds like you enjoyed the walkability of the city. I'm glad to hear that New Orleans is known in the rest of the world as America's most walkable city. I agree with that distinction.

I personally wouldn't have picked Detroit as a city to visit, but I understand your interest as you work in the automotive industry.

Regarding the food. Are you referring to the food in Detroit or in New Orleans? The food in Detroit is quite different than New Orleans, so that was why I was curious. However, in both places the portions are large. Were you able to try Cajun/Creole food in New Orleans (fresh seafood with elaborate sauces, usually served over rice) and Detroit Motown specialties (also called Soul Food)? Perhaps they are too different than what you are used to?
bkluvsNola is offline  
Jul 4th, 2008, 12:22 PM
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You express yourself in American English very well. You must be a US native, 60 years removed, or do business here frequently?
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 4th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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I enjoyed your trip report very much. As others have said, it's interesting to learn what impressions others have of our country.

Many years ago, I spent two years in Japan while working for the American forces. I lived in Chitose, on Hokkaido, for a year and near Tokyo for the next year. I was able to travel through Japan during those years and to learn much about Japanese culture and customs. I think very fondly of the people, the Ryokans (spelling?), the gardens, the castles and all the beautiful places I saw.

I even studied the Japanese language for a time, but I never became fluent.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jul 5th, 2008, 05:01 AM
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I really enjoyed reading your report. It is interesting to see our culture from an outsider's viewpoint. I was very impressed with your ability to write in English.

We visited Japan in the summer of 2006. The main thing I noticed was how polite every waiter, receptionist, ticket seller, etc. was in Japan. You are correct that many people in the service industry in the U.S. can be impatient and sometimes rude. We find it frustrating too. I try to remain polite, but keep repeating what I want. That usually works. I think there is much more conflict in American society, maybe because people are encouraged to be independent. There are benefits to that, but also drawbacks.

When we were in Japan, we enjoyed the cuisine. But after a few days, we really craved more familiar food. It sounds like you had the same feeling. The two types of food are very different, that's for sure.

Please come back again!
travelgirl2 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2008, 05:31 AM
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What a great trip report.

Like any traveler, one receives back equal to what he puts into his travel. Your incident of being allowed to see the "museum" even when closed, shows us that the way you approached the situation was probably the reason you were allowed to enter and enjoy. A traveler who stands there and screams that they have no right to close it would not have received the same kind treatment. No doubt your own kindness and sincerity paid off! You are a WISE traveler.

NeoPatrick is online now  
Jul 5th, 2008, 06:35 PM
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What a lovely trip report.
themishmans is offline  
Jul 5th, 2008, 06:49 PM
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Fascinating trip report.

I loved my trip to Japan. I especially loved the very good, polite service Japanese people give to visitors and to customers.

I'm an American, but I now live in Italy. When I visit America now, I can barely eat restaurant food. I also buy most of it and simply eat it plain.

If you have not done so already, I hope you will visit the automobile museum in Torino in Italy.

And then visit Liguria and enjoy the fresh seafood!

zeppole is offline  
Jul 5th, 2008, 07:19 PM
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Lovely report!
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