Showing foreign tourists the real Japan

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Here’s a bit of an interesting survey from iShare, looking at what Japanese would introduce foreigners to.

Demographics

Between the 23th and 29th of December 2008 709 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 55.0% of the sample were male, 12.1% in their twenties, 47.5% in their thirties, 30.7% in their forties, 7.6% in their fifties, and 2.0% in their teens or aged sixty or older.

I’d put Osaka higher up the list in Q1, but I’m biased! I’d also put Kanazawa higher, as it’s Kyoto without so many tourists, and I really enjoyed the one time I visited.

I wouldn’t subject anyone to Japanese curry, but I’d put Japanese-style snacks higher. I think that refers to Japanese flavours in Western-style sweets like chestnut Kit-Kats or wasabi (horseradish-like) flavoured crisps, rather than traditional Japanese confectionary based around bean-paste.

Judging by another survey, water-squirting toilets are popular amongst the foreign population, but game arcades and Scissors-Paper-Stone are hardly unique Japanese features. On the other hand, some of the machines in Japanese arcades have to be seen to be believed, so perhaps the first is a good choice!

Research results

Q1: Where would would like to take a foreign tourist along to? (Sample size=709, multiple answer)

 AllMale
N=390
Female
N=319
Kyoto54.4%50.0%59.9%
Kamakura30.2%24.1%37.9%
Tokyo29.5%30.0%28.8%
Nikko22.6%21.8%23.5%
Hakone19.7%22.6%16.3%
Hokkaido15.2%14.4%16.3%
Kanazawa12.1%7.9%17.2%
Okinawa10.6%9.5%11.9%
Osaka10.3%10.0%10.7%
Yokohama9.2%9.2%9.1%
Hiroshima6.9%6.7%7.2%
Nagoya2.7%2.1%3.4%
Other10.6%10.8%10.3%

Q2: What Japanese food would you recommend to a foreign tourist? (Sample size=709, multiple answer)

 AllMale
N=390
Female
N=319
Sushi52.5%52.1%53.0%
Okonomiya (sort-of savory pancake), takoyaki (octopus balls)41.3%39.2%43.9%
Ramen36.8%37.7%35.7%
Yakitori (skewer of grilled chicken)26.0%23.8%28.5%
Japanese curry17.5%18.5%16.3%
Sembei (rice cracker)16.5%12.8%21.0%
Unagi (eel)15.2%16.7%13.5%
Tsukemono (pickles)14.4%13.1%16.0%
Wanko soba (bite-sized bowl of noodles)12.3%10.3%14.7%
Umeboshi (pickled plum)9.9%8.7%11.3%
Fried gyoza8.3%6.9%10.0%
Japanese flavour snacks5.4%3.6%7.5%
Mentaiko (spicy roe) spaghetti4.7%3.3%6.3%

Q3: What aspects of Japanese culture would you like to teach a foreign tourist about? (Sample size=709, multiple answer)

 AllMale
N=390
Female
N=319
Onsen (hot springs)64.5%65.1%63.6%
Kotatsu (heated low table)41.7%34.4%50.8%
Water-squirting toilets28.3%28.7%27.9%
Manzai (stand-up comedy double-act)11.4%10.3%12.9%
Kaomoji (Japanese smilies)9.2%8.2%10.3%
End of year parties, start the year parties8.6%10.5%6.3%
Arcades8.3%8.2%8.5%
Janken (Scissors-Paper-Stone)6.6%6.2%7.2%
Other8.2%6.9%9.7%
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6 comments »

  1. Zentaro said,
    January 23, 2009 @ 23:56

    Hot springs are one of the best things about Japan. I’ll pass on unagi and mentaiko though.

  2. tudza said,
    January 24, 2009 @ 07:14

    I second the tsukemono part. I have one and only one sushi place out of 10 I’ve been to here that has this listed on the menu. If more people expect it, more places in the states will serve it.

    ( yama-gobo, daikon, and what the hell do you call those purple pickled cucumbers? http://eecue.com/images_archive/eecue-images-25825-tsukemono.html )

  3. January 24, 2009 @ 07:40

    How about crazy Japanese cults? They were sure eager to introduce me to those πŸ˜‰

  4. afatcow said,
    January 24, 2009 @ 09:01

    I think something else that would be interesting is seeing whether it depends on if the tourist is male of female.

  5. Phil said,
    January 26, 2009 @ 16:14

    I miss Natto! πŸ˜‰

  6. NN said,
    January 30, 2009 @ 01:42

    Yeah, I miss natto too! All Japanese always try to either feed it to me or at least ask if I can eat it or not. (^^)

    Sushi, takoyaki, yakitori and umeboshi as well are favourites, but otherwise, I have mostly been introduced to nabe, yakiniku, sashimi, fisheyes and a lot of different -don:s.

    And I have yet to try a kotatsu! I’ve got to get one of those one day. (*^^*)

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  1. January 24, 2009 @ 07:05

    Showing foreign tourists the real Japan

    An interesting survey looking at what Japanese would introduce foreigners to.