”This is Japan, you know?” he asks, but others want to show him the ways of the modern world.

Japanese Twitter user @J64682242 was recently riding a train in Tokyo, which is, of course, the capital of Japan. To @J64682242’s eyes, though, the carriage’s interior didn’t look sufficiently Japanese.

“Isn’t this signage strange? This is Japan, you know?” @J64682242 asked, pairing his question with a photo of the in-car diagram of the stations for the line, with their names written in Chinese on the top line and Korean on the bottom line.

In his Twitter profile, @J64682242 describes himself as neither left nor right-leaning politically. He also says that he’s been to more than 10 foreign countries, but “I’ve never seen another country that goes this far in displaying signs in languages other the country’s indigenous one and English.”

Despite @J64682242’s claimed experience as a world traveler, however, other Japanese Twitter users were quick to provide photographs showing that other countries also find space for more than their own language and English on their signage, several with Japanese text as part of the display. A few even chose to mockingly copy @J64682242’s syntax.

“Isn’t this signage strange? This is Malaysia, you know?”

“Isn’t this signage strange? This is Korea, you know?”

“This is America, you know?”


Some even went so far as to express suspicion as to how truthful @J64682242’s claimed international experience is, such as the poster of this snapshot taken in Switzerland.

“I’m curious as to what the breakdown is of the 10 countries he’s been to.”

And in contrast to @J64682242’s implied reasoning that aside from English the only thing that belongs on a sign is that particular country’s primary language, shots like this one from Miami show that even in nations where English is the dominant language, there’s still an understanding that it’s nice to include others as well.

▼ More cases of Japanese signage in Switzerland

▼ Vancouver’s SkyTrain

▼ The Paris subway


It’s worth noting that several of the photos posted as rebuttals to @J64682242’s grumbling were taken at airports with international flights, or, in the case of the picture from Vancouver, public transportation that travelers might be using to get to such airports. @J64682242’s photo, though, looks to have been taken on the Yurikakome, a train which connects downtown Tokyo with the Tokyo Bay island of Odaiba. However, Odaiba is a major tourist attraction, thanks to its beautiful views of the city skyline, multiple shopping/entertainment centers, and full-scale Gundam anime giant robot statue. With Odaiba being an especially big draw for travelers from elsewhere in Asia, it’s not surprising that the Yurikakome would have Chinese and Korean signage, sort of how like Singapore has signs directing travelers to the Merlion Park with Japanese text, since it’s the city’s most popular landmark with Japanese tourists.

And perhaps most importantly, several commenters were quick to point out that while @J64682242’s photo only shows the station diagram to the side of the door, the most prominent one on the Yurikamome is located above the portal, and is in Japanese.

With Japan welcoming an increasingly large number of foreign guests, @J64682242 may just have to get used to the fact that country is doing what it can to be more linguistically accommodating to the global community, even if the results are sometimes more hilarious than informative.

Source: Twitter/@J64682242 via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso