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The sand can be endless in Dubai  | © Land Rover MENA/Flickr
The sand can be endless in Dubai | © Land Rover MENA/Flickr | Flickr
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10 Things Japanese Tourists Think When Visiting Dubai

Picture of Jessica Harn
Updated: 9 October 2017
There is a general stereotype that Japanese people tend not to travel much – and if they do, it’s always older people with heavy cameras taking pictures of everything that spring to mind. Luckily, this image is slowly changing as more young Japanese people are venturing out into the world, either through travel, studying abroad, or even living abroad. That said, here are 10 honest things Japanese tourists will always think when visiting Dubai.

Everyone is so loud

Whether it’s just because it’s a different language or because Japanese itself is a quiet language, it seems like everyone in Dubai is shouting for some reason. Most Japanese will assume everyone is angry when in fact it’s just a different way of speaking.

The noise in the Dubai Gold Souq can be enough to scare away any new Japanese tourist!
The noise in the Dubai Gold Souq can be enough to scare away any new Japanese tourist! | Flickr

People can’t read my mind – how rude

Japanese people are known for being a strongly homogenous people, with a generally similar way of thinking when it comes to public behavior. That’s why it always comes as a shock when other people can’t assume what we’re thinking —especially in Dubai, where most people need to say what’s on their mind in order to be understood.

There is so much sand

Japan is famous for its clean streets and lack of trash; and while Dubai is still very clean, it is very different from the streets of Japan. Almost every single Japanese tourist will comment on the same thing – why is there actual sand in the streets and how is everyone okay with this?

I really need to practice my English

Even though Arabic is the local language of the UAE, English is the lingo-franca. Japanese people are unfortunately extremely behind in the world ranking of English speakers, and most Japanese tourists to Dubai will quickly regret not paying more attention in high school English class.

The people in Dubai are so beautiful

Unfortunately, Japan still has an unrealistic view on beauty – Japanese woman generally must be slim and pale in order to be considered beautiful. However, after coming to Dubai, many Japanese tourists come face to face with beautiful faces that may not be white or with bodies that may not be slim – and come away from Dubai re-evaluating how they define beauty. Beauty is almost undefinable in an international diverse place like Dubai and many Japanese tourists will return home raving about the beauty of the Arabian Peninsula.

Local Emirati woman
Local Emirati woman | Flickr

The money is really dirty

It’s hard to explain, but it might be just a Japanese thing – Japanese money is never dirty or too old. So when coming to Dubai and after being handed a 10 Dirham note that looks like it’s survived 1,001 nights in the desert….it can be quite comical watching other Japanese tourists trying to accept the fact that that well used money must go in their wallets.

Everyone is looking at me directly in the eyes…

In Japan it is considered respectful to avoid eye contact when speaking. So after coming to Dubai, all Japanese are wondering why everyone is seemingly looking into the depths of our souls. This might be one of those things that either leaves Japanese people feeling traumatized, or extremely relieved to finally talk to someone eye to eye.

Japanese versus Arab way of communicating can sometimes be comical
Japanese versus Arab way of communicating can sometimes be comical | Flickr

There seems to be no rule of law

While Japan’s many rules and strict social behaviors might be stifling to some, to locals it is a safe and relaxing way to live your lives. So when traveling to places like Dubai where in comparison, the rule of law is a little more relaxed in social settings, it can seem like absolute anarchy to some Japanese people.

I can’t believe there are actual camels

Because we can get so immersed in our own culture back in Japan, once Japanese tourists venture out into a place like Dubai anything extra-ordinary will become utterly amazing. A camel in the desert? And we can ride it? Most Japanese tourists will consider this the highlight of the trip just because of how different it is to anything back home.

Camels in Dubai
Camels in Dubai | Flickr

How do I convince everyone back home that Dubai isn’t dangerous

Once Japanese tourists have gone back to Japan, the real challenge begins: how do I convince everyone that what they see in the news isn’t always true, and even though Dubai is in the Middle East it is completely safe and even fun to visit? Changing the mindset of many Japanese, that anywhere abroad is uncomfortable and dangerous, might take generations. But little by little, every time we venture out into the world, we’re convincing the rest of Japan that there are so many amazing places to travel too.