Multiple choice question:

The top activity for foreign tourists in Japan is:

  • a) Shopping  
  • b) Eating Japanese Food  
  • c) Getting Swallowed Up by Hundreds of People Wading Through the Famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing While Attempting to Take a Selfie  
  • d) Visiting All of the Sites/Buildings Godzilla has Knocked Down and Blazed to the Ground in His Career
  • e) All of the Above

According to the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), which recently released the results of its Q1 2017 survey of foreign tourists visiting Japan, the answer is……

b) Eating Japanese Food

As explained in Terrie Lloyd’s blog, Terrie’s Take, “69.1% (of the foreign tourists surveyed) listed food as their top anticipated experience, followed 16 points further back by 52.5% wanting to go shopping. Perhaps even more importantly, the JTA’s survey of people exiting Japan lists the Number One experience during the trip as ‘Eating Japanese food’, which came in at an amazing 95.3%! Next after food was shopping, at 83.5%.”

 

Sushi
Three of my favorites!

 

Lloyd went on to provide interesting insight from the survey. He noted that the most popular Japanese dishes were sushi, ramen, Wagyu steak or sukiyaki. He also added that depending on the region from where the tourists come, the Japanese food of choice differs.

For travelers from Vietnam, India, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Canada, or France, the number one choice is sushi.

For tourists from Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, United Kingdom, United States, or Australia, the number one craving is ramen.

 

And for those travelling foodies from South Korea or Hong Kong it’s all about the beef – wagyu steak or sukiyaki.

I can’t argue with sushi, ramen and Wagyu. Frankly, they are so good here, I’d eat any of those items only in Japan if I had the choice.

 

Wagyu
One of my very good dinners.
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olympic-shoplifters-headline-yomiuri
From The Yomiuri, October 7, 1964

The world was coming to Tokyo in 1964, and Japan wanted to make sure that Tokyo was the friendliest, cleanest and safest city anybody would ever set foot in.

In order to make it safe, one of the actions the Tokyo police took was to lock up all known and suspected pickpockets. Over a three-month campaign prior to the commencement of the Games, the police rounded up 230 pickpockets, resulting in a drop in incidents from 400 in April to 120 in September.

Unfortunately, one can never quite expect the unexpected.

Apparently, there was a rash of shoplifting in the popular stores inside the Olympic Village. The culprits? The Olympic athletes.

As the kid said to Shoeless Joe Jackson, “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”

village-shopping-2
From the report, The Games of the XVIII Olympiad 1964

Here’s how the The Yomiuri started off an article on October 7, 1964. “Although shoplifting is not among the listed events in the Olympics some athletes adept in the old sleight-of-hand game are establishing unofficial records in the village out in Yoyogi, much to the chagrin of shop clerks.”

The article explains that there were a total of 16 shops selling a wide variety of good, including clothing, jewelry and electronics. The most popular items – whether legitimately purchased or quietly absconded – were electronics, specifically transistor radios. Watches, pearl necklaces, ball point pens and silk handkerchiefs apparently also went missing.

Radios were priced at JPY1,000 to 8,000, watches at JPY7,000, and the stolen necklaces going for as high as JPY45,000. Back then, that’s significant money.

According to one shop manager interviewed in the article, “the customers engaged the attention of shop hands by communicating in writing while accomplices, all members of an undisclosed team, slipped the tiny radios into their pockets. The manager said he could not identify the culprits because none of the shop employees saw them in the act.”

“‘We were sorry we were off guard, believing all the athletes to be ladies and gentlemen representing their country,’ he bemoaned.”

village-shopping
From the report, The Games of the XVIII Olympiad 1964