A post about nothing except ‘Paris Syndrome’

Paris: what the Japanese don't see

I’m back. The weather in Sydney is bitter cold but my soul is slowly thawing as I move into a new phase of my life. I’m determined to write, which I haven’t managed to do for months.

Enough of moi. Here’s something to make you smile.

Paris is regarded as the City of Love, but for many Japanese tourists it fails to live up to its reputation.

BBC News reports that annually 12 Japanese tourists who visit Paris are afflicted by ‘Paris Syndrome’, which leads to a psychiatric breakdown. The syndrome mostly affects female tourists aged around 35, who are usually travelling abroad for the first time.  

What they expect to see is beautiful French women immaculately attired and coiffed, gallant French men who ride bikes and have crusty baguettes stuffed down their trousers, and an array of delightful cafes and cultural attractions.

What they get is often a different story – a rude waiter who refuses to serve patrons who don’t speak the lingo, frazzled working women on a budget who shop at Target (pronounced ‘Tarjay’) for their clothes, and men who are short and swarthy – more Gerard Depardieu than Gilles Marini.

The ‘culcha and all that’ might be nice, but who could be bothered queueing to see the bottom right-hand-side of the Mona Lisa smile after having been verbally abused by an unforgiving cabbie and visually assaulted by frumpy, grumpy Parisians?

So far this year, four Japanese tourists have been flown home (I guess before their holiday is over) with a doctor or nurse onboard the plane to help them cope with the ‘culcha’ shock.

The Japanese Embassy in Paris has a 24-hour hotline for those suffering severe culture shock, and can admit ‘those in need’ to hospital for treatment.

Poor Japanese. Maybe they need to take the view that a postcard perfect Paris would be pretty boring. Mon Dieu! Merde (that’s the only French swear word I know, which I hope would endear me to a French waiter).