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Japan: Reactions to the Japanese tourist rip-off in Italy

Japanese tourists in Rome are said to have diminished in the last period. Not only the economic crisis but also the bad service that Italian restaurants and hotels provide to the tourists as well as the fear to have their wallet or mobile phone ripped off, have made the Japanese choose other safer destinations.

Just of few weeks ago the news that a Japanese couple was cheated by a famous restaurant in the center of Rome who presented them a 700 euro bill for an ordinary lunch. Japanese people, though, have started to be fed up with being considered the well-off, easily-cheatable tourist to milk.

By Flickr user id: Norte_it [Dario J Laganà].

Moshimoshi, the Japanese manager of the B&B in Rome that hosted the unlucky couple, explains what happened and titles the post “There is no way I can tolerate it” (絶対に許せない!!).

今日警察に行ってきました。というのも最近B&Bのお客様が被害にあわれて、その再確認に行ってまいりました。

その被害とは、簡単に説明すると二人でランチを食べたら700ユーロ、(約10万円)という法外な値段をぼったくられた、という被害です。

Today I went to the police.
Some of my customers recently were victims of a rip off and I went there for verification.
To explain in simple words what the fraud consisted of, the two were exaggeratedly overcharged and made pay 700 Euro (100.000 Yen) for a lunch.

信じられます?700ユーロですよ!!
許せない!!という事で警察に行き調書をとりました。
しかもそのレストランはガイドブックにのっており、「日本語のメニューがあり、良心的な値段!!」なんて書いてあります。
確かにそのお客様は、メニューも見ずにおまかせで料理を持ってきてもらったそうです。
でもそれにしても700ユーロって・・・・
イタリア人みんなに言われました「どうして払ってしまったんだ?」と。でも想像してください、食べたのに払わずにレストランの外に出たりできますか?私自身は文句を言うにしても、最終的に払わずに外に出たりできないと思います。

Can you believe it? 700 Euro!!!
I can't tolerate it! So I went to the police to draw up a report. What's more, that restaurant is on the guidebook with the commenting words ‘Japanese menu included, fair prices!'. It's true that those customers didn't check the menu and asked to bring them what the restaurant suggested but 700 euro…
Italian people told me “Why did they pay?”
But try to imagine, could you walk off a restaurant without paying what you ate? Also if I had personally complained, eventually I would haven't been able to go away without paying.

私がそう言うとイタリア人は口をそろえて「だから日本人はぼられるんだ!!」
と言います。でもそんな事が許されていいのでしょうか?
「黙っているから、だましてもいい」なんて国があっていいのでしょうか?私は断じて戦います。そんな事が許されていいと全く思いません。今日私を呼び出した警察も、「観光客のイタリアの思い出がそんなに醜いものになるのは一イタリア人として許せない!!彼らはイタリアの恥だ!!」とそのレストランを厳しく罰する事を誓ってくれました。

And so what they told me is “That's why Japanese people get ripped off!!”
But, can you tolerate that? Is it ok for people in this country to think that “since they are not complaining I can cheat them”? I will absolutely fight such mentality because I believe it's impossible to tolerate such things. Also the policeman who called me today swore that the restaurant will have to pay a very heavy fine. “I, as Italian, cannot tolerate that those tourists will have such a terrible memory of Italy! Those people are the shame of Italy!!”.

However, a Japanese blogger points his finger against those Japanese tourists who think to find abroad the same quality service that in Japan they give for granted.

まあ、ありえる話かな、って感じ。
日本は今こんな不景気だから減って不思議でないし、日本人が言う「イタリアのサービスの悪さ」はなにも今に始まったことじゃないから。。。
ただ「サービス悪い」のは何もイタリアだけじゃないと思う。

I'm not that surprised.
In this period of recession it's not strange if the number of Japanese tourists has decreased and what the Japanese attribute to “bad Italian service” is nothing new or recent…
However, “bad service” is not only [a problem] in Italy.

[…]

それに、、、
海外行って、「日本のようなサービスを受けよう」と思ってるのが、根本的に間違ってると思うよ。
で、サービスの点で、日本と外国の認識の違い、ぜったいあるはず。
日本は「黙っていても何かしてもらえる」と思うのがサービス。
(いわゆる「お客様は神様です」的に・・・)
でも、あちらへ行ったら、、、
「自分で欲することを自分で要求」した上で「相手に仕事をしてもらう」のがサービス(の一つ)。
この他にも相違点たくさんあるのに、あちらのことを知らずに、、[…]
そんな認識で海外行かれちゃうのが、ウチらには恥ずかしいわいっ!

Besides… I believe that there is something fundamentally wrong to believe that “when going abroad, we'll have the same service as in Japan.”
In this regard, it's absolutely obvious that there are differences between Japan and the other countries.
In Japan service is considered “having everything done without saying a word.” (According to the saying, “the customer is God”…)
But abroad (some think that) service is “having something done after I requested what I want”.
And although there are many points of difference, going to those countries without taking it into account…
[…]And those who go abroad with such [superficial] understanding are a shame for us Japanese!

Ripping off foreign travelers is nothing new to the Italian people, unfortunately. Especially to those who come from cities that partly lives on tourism, like Rome.
Not for this, Italians are less ashamed of what is being considered around the world as the umpteenth cheat in the home of Colosseo.

An Italian blogger at L'isola dei riottosi expresses his disappointment on the matter.

Ci stiamo rovinando con le nostre stesse mani. Come dico spesso, la meschinità sta diventando uno dei capisaldi del nostro popolo. Tanto che il turismo rischia di sentirne. E parecchio. In particolare, il numero di turisti giapponesi che si recano a Roma si è dimezzato rispetto al 1997. Motivi? Le strade dell'Urbe sono sporche, e specialmente c'è un ricchissimo business delle Truffe! […]E giustamente queste cose non passano inosservate, dato che ne parlano pubblicamente all'estero, in questo caso il Giappone, dove adesso Roma viene vista come una bellissima città d'arte ma anche come un “macchina succhia soldi”.

We are ruining ourselves with our own hands. As I use to say, meanness is becoming commonplace for our people. To the extent that tourism risks suffering from it. A lot.
In particular, the number of Japanese tourists who go to Rome halved from 1997. Why? Because the streets of Rome are dirty and ripping off is a very profitable business![…] And obviously such things cannot be ignored, as they talk about it abroad. In Japan in this case, Rome is not only seen as a beautiful city of art but also as a “money-sucking machine”.

Another Italian blogger, id: dragor, makes clear how a tourist is often regarded by some Roman shopkeepers.

PER GLI ITALIANI gli stranieri sono una massa d’imbecilli che aspettano soltanto di farsi fregare. Si considerano molto furbi e credono che tutti gli altri siano ingenui. La loro fantasia per tirare la botta è incredibile. [...] Ma il massimo della fantasia si esercita nella fregatura individuale, che in molti casi si manifesta con il prezzo ad hoc. In un bar di Roma, mia moglie ha ordinato un caffè in francese. Le è stato fatturato 5 euro. Quando ho fatto notare nella lingua di Dante che era un furto, ho ricevuto questa risposta: “Dovevi dirlo subito che sei italiano. Quello è il prezzo per gli stranieri.”

FOR THE ITALIANS foreigners are a bunch of idiots waiting to be cheated. They consider themselves very cunning and think that the others are naive. The ideas they come up with to take someone for a ride are incredible. […] But the best idea they come up with is the one-to-one rip off, that often results in an ad hoc price.
In a bar in Rome, my wife ordered a coffee in french. They gave here a 5 euro check. So when I made them notice, in Dante's language, that that was a fraud I got this answer: “You should have immediately told us you were Italian. That is the price for foreigners”.
  • http://logged-in.org Diego Casaes

    “price for foreigners”

    That’s very disappointing…

    In some of Brazil major tourist cities [like Rio, Sao Paulo and Salvador], prices to the tourists are also distinct from the price to the locals. That really is a shame and tourist destinations only will suffer with that. That’s not a particular situation in Italy.

    As far as I know Japanese tourists [I'm a Bachelor in Tourism and I've worked with tourists from many places of the world] they’re very honest and trust in people very much, whether it is in leisure or business. To take advantage of that is something really sad, and I think that Italy tourism companies should think carefully if that’s how they want to be seen from now on.

  • Pingback: Turistas japoneses se quejan por los sobreprecios en Italia | Blog de Viajes

  • Marshall

    I’m sorry, but this story is hilarious.

    Also, no matter where you go, businesses are going to try to rip you off. In America, places that are major tourist attractions charge ridiculously high prices for everything–a bottle of water, for example, can cost up to $5 in many tourist attractions in Washington D.C. The only difference in Italy is that swindling tourists is less organized.

  • Pingback: Turistas japoneses se quejan por los sobreprecios en Italia

  • http://www.kkvinarius.com TARA TAN KITAOKA

    ITALY HAS TO GROW UP. IT IS WRONG OF THE ITALIANS TO THINK THAT KIND JAPANESE CAN BE
    RIPPED OFF. ITALIANS FORGET THAT IF THEY WERE IN THE SAME POSITION, PAYING 700,000 EURO FOR
    LUNCH, THEY WOULD BE SCREAMING THEIR HEADS
    OFF AND CURSING.

    I HAVE WORKED WITH ITALIANS FOR 21 YEARS.
    IT IS TIME THAT THEY STOP THINKING THAT THEY
    ARE STILL O.K. AND THEY CAN DO ANYTHING,
    THEY WANT. THE WHOLE WORLD IS FULL OF
    CLEVER PEOPLE, KINDNESS SHOULD NEVER
    BE MISTAKEN FOR STUPIDITY.

    ITALY IS IN THE SHITS, EVERYTHING IS NOT WORKING CORRECTLY, ALITALIA IS IN BANKRUPTCY,
    5 STARS HOTELS ARE HAVING 45% OCCUPANCY RATES.

    EVERYTHING USED TO BE MADE IN ITALY ,IS EITHER FROM CHINA OR ANY 3RDWORLD COUNTRIES. SO, WHY SHULD ANYONE SPEND THEIR GOOD HARD EARNED MONEY IN ITALY ???.

    THERE ARE MANY WONDERFUL PLACES TO GO THAT
    DO NOT RIPPED OFF TOURISTS.

    COME ON TRAVELLERS, LET’S INVEST OUR GOOD TIME AND MONEY IN ANOTHER COUNTRY.

    SAYONARA, ITALY.

    • paolo

      I’m quite disappointed by censorship by Ms Scilla Alecci. TARA TAN KITAOKA offended my country beyond any limit, and I was willing to remind him japanese defects (a lot indeed) and their cruelty shown in WWII, and their attitude of superiority, while stealing tourists happens everywhere in the world,from America to Brasil,from Europe to china or thailand, so please review your attitude against italians. not evrery man is a criminal,and after all our economy is still the 6th largest in the world,in a tiny coutry inhabited by 58 millions. Let’s see if moderateo let my message pass, while
      Tara Tan veri aggressive and offensive message was given green light.Please

    • paolo

      One more advice to this japanese complaining about my country. Of course low labour cost production and low profile production like in any country of western europe (automobiles, computers , cell. phone) and from north america ahs been transferred to any country from eastern europe to china (delocalization) . this means higher profits for our industries at the price of a lower employement rate, but he should know birth rate in the west is so low that we have nobody willing to do those mean jobs exept for illegal immigrants. So before insulting a country as a whole, be informed ,please. Finally our hotel’s crew is not unpolite but remember that unlike in north america,here tips are included in their salary,so they don’t bend on their knees so serve the foreign alien.And finally2, due to both natural and artistic and historic and climatic pleasures Italy ranks n°2 in world tourist industry. We did not destroy our past to build horrible villages on the coasts like spaniards did or egyptians did.

  • http://www.kkvinarius.com TARA TAN KITAOKA

    DEAR PAOLO,

    DREAM ON.

  • Paolo

    dear TARA TAN KITAOKA,
    maybe the hate you are feeling for my country prevents you from having a quiet conversation. Global crisis almost ended, and the toll we all will have to pay is a haghier unnemployement rate. Worst hit countries in Europe were Iceland,Latvia,Eastern Europe,UK, and Spain, not Italy. Alitalia has been sabed and now is flying with a finally not passive,not active balance,but neutral,and it’s improving. It’s always our flagship carrier, but it’s not any more a state owned country. It’ owned by stakeholders, 75% italians by law. Appearently not all japaneese share your view: we are sofull of japanese tourist. They will be soon replaced though by chinese ones, since china is becoming the leading economy in Asia and the second in the world. I love China,I’ve been there often,THEY are kind to foreigners. Finally I regret what some criminals did to a few japanese tourist in Rome. But I live in Northern Italy where people are basically honest, and I am sure (since I hosted foreign friend from allover the world) that inGenoa,my Citi,and in the italian riviera and in Milan and in the alpine paradise, same prices are applied to foreigners and to italian. Recently my govt. made a bunch of deals with Russia,China and Lybia,our ex colony. In lybia we will build a 6 lanes highways running from Tunisia all the way to Egypt, and fast train lines connecting coastal main cities and the inner desert city of Kufra. And our oil companies will have the monopoly in research and exploiting rich lybian oil field. Fiat Automaker bought Chrisler for a bargain price. do you still think we are so “in the shit” as you said?

  • Abdoulaye Bah

    “La verità fa male, lo so”. Queste parole della canzone degli anni ’60 sono più che mai attuali!

    1. L’Italia in questo periodo, fà vedere la sua faccia più brutte. Queste bruttezze e malcostumi attuali, però, non dovrebbero far dimenticare le grandezze del passato. Vivo a Roma e sono scritto a due corsi per conoscere meglio la Città eterna, uno per scoprire i tesori nascosti nelle chiese e il secondo, il ruolo dell’acqia nella storia di Roma.

    Quando viaggiavo da Roma a Vienna o viceversa dagli anni ’70 al 2001 con la mia famiglia, preferivo viaggiare di giorno per meglio godermi gli scenari naturali che cambiavano da una regione all’altra. Sceglievamo le città dove passere la notte e visitare i tesori artistici. Negli Autogrill che regalavano un piatto decorato artisticamente quando si mangiava la specialità locale, ne facevamo la raccolta. Ne abbiamo ancora qualcuno.

    Ora quando vado da Roma a Nizza (Francia), viaggio quasi sempre di giorno per potermi godere le bellezze naturali: dei piccoli villaggi del Lazio e della Toscana o gli scenari mozzafiato delle Cinque terre o delle altre località della Sua Liguria.

    Eppure se nonostante tutte queste inneguagliabili bellezze naturali e culturali, l’Italia non riesce ad essere la prima destinazione turistica del mondo, ci devono essere delle ragioni che dovremmo riconoscere e combattere, invece di nascondere la testa sotto la sabbia o arrabbiarci quando degli stranieri ci dicono quello che non va da noi.

    2. Per le performances economiche e il livello di vita, il nostro paese dovrebbe essere paragonato ai paesi fondatori dell’Unione europea e non a quelli appena usciti da decenni di oscurantismo. La generazione € 1000, così come i cassaintegrati, i padri di famiglia disoccupati, i giovani sottopagati che non possono comperare neanche il motorino a rate, esistono. Ne ho incontro qualche esemplare. Non tutti gli Italiani detengono dei pacchetti azionari delle grosse aziende.

    3. Paolo, Lei ha delle ragioni ben più valide di quelle che presenta per essere orgoglioso della Sua bella Liguria: la città di Genova ha la più alta percentuale di stranieri, un bambino su 5 che nasce negli ospedali sono di parenti stranieri, l’università di Genova è tra le due con la più alta percentuale di stranieri, che ha stabilito delle relazioni con istituzioni di formazione di tutto il mondo.

    Ma Alla stazione di XX miglia sono stato cacciato in malo modo perchè venendo dalla Francia avevo voglia di un cappuccino come si deve, e lì me lo hanno servito che taboccava, con la schiuma che cadeva da tutte le parle, quando mi sono lamentato mi hanno cacciato; in un ristorante (d’estate) sul lungomare, i camerieri mi hanno ignorato del tutto, quando mi sono manifestato mi hanno quasi buttato fuori.

    Prendere il turista, lo straniero o il diverso come una persona poco degna di rispetto, è talmente radicato in una forte percentuale di italiani, da non essere un fatto legato ad una regione.

    A Torino ho chiesto di cambiare stanza in un albergo, il proprietario mi ha trattato male, ma alla fine siamo diventati amici. Dopo la fattura di €700 alla coppia di Giaponesi a Roma, un’altra fattura ben più elevata è stata fatta pagare, sempre … a Giaponesi. A Napoli? A Roma? No!!! A Milano!!!

    • Paolo

      Thanx Mr. Abdoulaye Bah for your support (let me call you tu e non lei,please). I can see you are a very cultured person. You might have noticed that those wrong racist and homophobic attitudes incresead sharply after last political elections, and in the global financial crisis, while many ingnorant people would like to discriminate foreigners. You might know that in may industrial countries, including Germany and France, there are movement ,sometimes violents ones, of extreme right descent, willing do deport foreign people and not to buy foreign goods. Ignorant people when hard times come just think about themselves. You are right in many of your statements. I can just tell when I acted as a tourist guide with my canadian or english friends we were never charged extra money nowhere n italy, even when I let them speak to book a room or a meal. Let’s hope reason will prevail.

  • Abdoulaye Bah

    MALGRADO TUTTO, ITALIA, TI AMO, IN OGNI TUO ANGOLO, REGIONE BENE CULTURALE E AMIBIENTALE AL PUNTO DA FAR PARTE DEL FAI (FONDO PER L’AMBIENTE ITALIANO). OGGI SONO STATO AL COLLE OPPIO. COL COLOSSEO IN FONDO!!!

    RICONOSCO, PERO, CHE E DIFFICILE VIVERCI OGGI.

  • meg

    Paolo,

    Please ignore Mr. Kitaoka. He’s only one person and does not speak for all Japanese people. Most Japanese love Italy – otherwise why do they keep traveling to your country?? They love all the sights and of course the shopping! I enjoy your comments.

    Greetings from Los Angeles, California.
    Megumi Shimatsu

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