Whine Wednesday: Missing Bus Etiquette In Japan By Annoying Foreign Travelers


This weeks Whine Wednesday is about something that goes on my nerves to no end when visiting Japan: Foreigners who can’t obey the rules of what not to do when using public transportation.

Limousine BusThere are clearly visible signs as well as announcements making passengers aware that eating, drinking and using cell phones for calls is not permitted on the Tokyo Airport Limousine Bus for example.

Yesterday it was such a situation again where I arrived in Narita and on my way to Shinjuku an American family with four kids entered the bus, already totally out of it and unorganized losing half the stuff they carried in the aisle.

Once seated and the bus made it’s way towards Tokyo the woman took out her cellphone and called three different companies to made adjustments to her travel plans, shouting in her cellphone just minutes after the audio announcement clearly said NO CELLPHONES.

Here is what she had to do:

  • She forgot to pick up a ticket confirmation at the airport -> Called the Airline
  • She forgot to pick up her rented japanese WiFi Device so she called the provider to have it delivered to the Shinjuku Washington Hotel
  • She was missing a receipt or the return ticket in her Limousine Bus ticket envelope -> called the bus company.

All this being discussed in a very audible way for the entire bus. The children blurring away at the same time as well.

Needless to say at the same time there were about 10 Japanese kids on the bus who didn’t say a word. Just when she was about to make another call I turned around and told her she might be surprised but the rules apply to Americans as well and she might better stay at home in the future considering her talent for forgetting things that are travel related.


Why is it always Americans who make such a negative impression when traveling abroad? The ignorance for the local customs and regulations is staggering and such people should be called out at every given opportunity. Of course this being Japan nobody would say anything, even though I have experienced bus drivers in the past who have reminded passengers (Chinese back then) to stop making calls on their cellphones.