Post # 1
Ok… so my guy’s family doesn’t speak English (They’re Japanese). No worries. We’re all coming all the way from Tokyo for the wedding… Grateful for that.
After speaking with the family, they are under the impression that I am going to act as tour guide and translator for the entire week we’re in Chicago.
This I’m sortof not ok with. I plan on spending the week enjoying my home country that I haven’t set foot in in a loooonnnggggg time, seeing old friends and family, not to mention it’s my wedding and walking around with a group of Japanese people translating restaurant menus and explaining why its so windy doesn’t make it all that enjoyable. My husbands English is pretty ok… but he doesn’t know jack about Chicago. So that leaves me as the only person who knows the area and also can translate to show them around.
I don’t know why we didn’t discuss this sooner. It never even came into my brain that they would want to spend time with us immediately after our wedding. I just assumed they’d get a guidebook and run with it but now they’re asking me to show them certain spots and galleries and quite frankly… even though I didn’t say it outloud… I just wanna tell them to suck on it. I haven’t even stepped on US soil for over a year and even then it was only for a week. If I spend all week showing Japanese people around and speaking only Japanese I’m not going to feel like I’m at home. But if I leave them to their vices they’ll probably wander down south, accidently try to make a drug deal and get shot.
WTF do I do? I just want to be an American again… Just for a week. That’s all I’m asking. Fair or unfair?
Post # 3
Fair! You shouldn’t be expected to do this. Can’t you hire someone Japanese speaking to act as their guide?
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo
Do you have any friends who speak Japanese who can show them around? Would your parents be willing to go around with them? I’m guessing the language barrier will be there, but at least they would have someone to steer them towards the touristy stuff they are looking for. You could always use post wedding clean-up or getting your affairs in order since you’ve been out of the country as an excuse. I think it would suck to leave them hanging though, especially now that you know they expect you to show them around.
Post # 5
I don’t think it’s unfair you don’t want to play tour guide. If you offered then that’s a different story but them just assigning you the duty I’d be irritated too. How about looking for tour guide companies that cater to the Japanese that way they’d get to see Chicago with people that speak their native language and you can do the things you want to do. Do you think they’d go for this?
Post # 6
Why don’t you arrange for a tour guide to take them around? In such a diverse city, i’m sure that exists. If you figured out a way to make it well thought out and a kind gesture, i’m sure they would appreciate it. It would also be a nice gesture for you to spend one day with them. It would be a good compromise! There’s nothing that says it has to be all or nothing, right? If I understand correctly, Japanese culture is very focused on caring for the older generations and making sure family is taken care of. So, they may view the wedding trip differently than you do, in a cultural sense. This trip isn’t just about you getting to see people you haven’t seen in forever – it’s about your FI’s family making this grand gesture to try and understand/be a part of their son’s wife’s life. Which is actually pretty awesome, when you think about it.
Post # 7
Compromise maybe? Tell them exactly how you feel, and offer to give them a day of sight seeing. I know when I go back to America with friends from the UK, I get a massive kick out of taking them around some of my favorite places in my hometown, and giving some of the history/customs. It always reminds me of how much I love America, and the Bay Area, and gives me an even stronger appreciation of the area. If they want more than that, they can hire someone to take them around or you can get someone.
As someone who used to work in the tour guide industry, there are always a lot of guides about as most historians can’t find any other work! Also, in big cities, there are usually a lot of history students who will do guided walking tours on the cheap, or just for tips. I wouldn’t imagine it would be too hard to find a Japanese speaking guide in Chicago! Check Craigslist.
Post # 8
@kittenbojangles: You can be super nice and give them 1 day of touring together. Aside from that, I’d give them lists of things walking distance from their hotel or nearby each other that they can see that do not require knowing English (Art Institute, Milenium Park, etc). Give them some pre-printed google maps, buy them a 7-day unlimited pass for the el (so they don’t have to figure out fares/getting tix), and see if you can buy tickets for them to see some stuff ahead of time (maybe there’s a concert while they are here?). The Hancock building tour has a Japanese version on audioplayer they can use while there (buy those tix ahead of time and they can figure it out on arrival)….Willis tower probably has one too, and nearly all the tourist sites will have info pamphlets in Japanese.
Post # 9
i think you should look into having someone act as a tour guide for them. they are in a coming to strange country without knowing the language for your wedding. they deserve to be looked after. i’m not saying that you have to do it but have someone look after them. it will make it easier for all.
Post # 10
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
You need to discuss this with your husband especially about how travel is viewed by his culture and family. He may say that you only need to take them around for one day and then arrange for a Japanese tour guide to take them around the other days.
By not considering their culture, you may accidentally insult them and be unable to apologize. This might be the time to play tour guide and introduce his family to your family instead of serving as an American vacation for you. I would plan to return to the States in the near future so that you can do what you want when you visit then.
Post # 11
I agree that you shouldn’t have to play tour guide… so maybe find a tour for them?
Downloadable Audio Tours (in Japanese): http://www.downloadchicagotours.com/
Private Tours (can request a Japanese-speaking guide): http://chicagoprivatetours.com/Home_Page.html
Or maybe see what else you can find through google? Oh, and there is a Japan America Society of Chicago: http://www.jaschicago.org/ Maybe contact them and see if they offer anything?
Post # 12
This comment, although somewhat true, made me LOL! ~ “But if I leave them to their vices they’ll probably wander down south, accidently try to make a drug deal and get shot.”
I would definitely look into finding someone to look after them, rather than leaving them helpless in a strange place. Call some local universities and see if there are any bilingual students that can interpret for them. I’m sure there are students that would translate for cheap! Otherwise, call a few companies that offer translators for a fee. I know we have an organization called The International Institute that offers services such as this (I don’t know what the rates are). This would alleviate you from feeling obligated to being with them 24-7, but be certain to spend some quality time with them as well.
Post # 13
This is a cultural difference, and one which you will need to get used to if you are marrying someone from Japan. The level of hospitality one extends to one’s guests is much higher in Japan (as well as some other countries in Asia and Northern Africa) than what we extend here in the US. I am sure it is not that the family expects you to be their personal servant but rather, they come from a culture where it’s unheard of to let your guests wander a foreign city on their own.
To give you some perspective, I visited Sydney for vacation a few years back and have a co-worker who, till then, I had never met. He was raised in India and lived in Tokyo for about 10 years as an adult. Two very hospitable cultures. He offered his guest room for the duration of our trip (we declined for several reasons but mainly because we were uncomfortable with such generous gestures), and gave us most of one full weekend of his time dragging us around as our own personal tour guide. Our money was no good with him and he wouldn’t even let us fill up his car with petrol after we’d driven about 300 miles round-trip to go explore the outlying areas. And he was still disappointed — in himself, not us— for not having given us the proper opportunity to enjoy a home-cooked meal with him and his wife.
Anyway, I would plan the agenda for these guests, and hire a private Japanese-speaking tour guide and whatever transportation is needed for the group. Make it a point to join the guests at least for dinner (better if you can get a party room at an independant Chicago restaurant than a chain, as culturally there is a big emphasis on trying local specialties) and bonus points if you can join them for breakfast too. Make it clear that you have hired so-and-so to host the sightseeing as you have many wedding-related tasks that demand your attention. Make it clear that you have chosen the sightseeing plan (even if you are just having them go where the tour bus already goes). And don’t be angry at your husband. Remember he too grew up in this culture too, and it’s not him being inconsiderate or dropping more work on you or making his wife be subservient; rather, this is just how things are done where he is from. He has no reason to have yet learned that is not how we do it in the US.
Post # 14
Can you, one of your friends, or a family member see if you can set up some tours for them with a Japanese-speaking guide??
Post # 15
I would make time for my new family, especially if they were from a different country and didn’t speak the language. Surely you can schedule a day or two for them with your DH. There are 7 days in a week, be an American for 5. That’s what I would do.
Post # 16
This is one of the reasons I told the very few friends I invited to our wedding in Central America they dont have to come. It’s a lot of money and I won’t have a lot of time to show them around. FI’s mom mentioned coming to NYC for the wedding we’ll be having 3 months after (visa pending!), and he told her it would be better to come at another time. She speaks to English and wants to see the sights, wants to take a trip to Niagara Falls… and we can’t guide her around before or after the wedding.
Explain that you’ll be very busy getting ready for the wedding, catching up with family and friends, etc., and that you won’t have much time for sight-seeing. Provide the name of some tour guides/companies. Have your fiance talk to them about this, too… it seems unfair that they expect this of you during your wedding.