I found this ad for Japanese tourism in a 1981 magazine targeted to American airline employees.
The guy in the photo really seems to be trying: dressing in yukata, staying at a Japanese inn, and reading Shogun (on my first couple of trips to Asia, I read James Clavell novels on the flight, so I’m not knocking that!).
But the strange thing about this photo is the title. Japan: Where East is West.
I read the article, which proclaimed Japan had many places Westerners would find ‘international’ or ‘modern’ or ‘comfortable.’ As if the non-Western aspects of the country wouldn’t appeal.
The article included other photos, including one of a few geisha-inspired topless women (which certainly isn’t limited to Western tastes, although it does play into Western stereotypes of Asia).
I’m no expert, but I always figured Japan was pretty easy to adapt to 30 years ago, unlike other, more rustic countries in Asia. But maybe I’m wrong.
After all, the Sofia Coppola-directed film Lost in Translation depicts Scarlet Johansson’s horrible culture shock when she flies to Tokyo with her boyfriend for a short trip. (I’d feel out of my element staying in a 5 star hotel, too, but I wouldn’t fall into a depression over it!)