The culture that is Paris Japan

Also known as markets in everything:

Paris is so filthy that Japanese tour guides have started cleaning the streets themselves.

A group of nine guides, funded by the Paris Tourism Association, dispersed throughout the City of Lights Sunday to begin their cleaning mission in hopes of bringing more Japanese visitors to town.

The story is here, noting that I do not myself find Paris to be so dirty.

For the pointer I thank Scott Wessman.


Japanese tourists are known to have very bad reactions to Paris

This story makes me confused and uncomfortable.

Who is the oppressor and who is the victim? Isn't there some way to frame this story in terms of racism or privilege, so that I can use it to feel morally superior to my inferiors?

You obviously already have.


That's really old news. You'll read about at least once a year. Usually in connection with Paris syndrome.

And I find Paris to be really dirty. Especially Paris Métro. For Japanese people it's a real shock.

Yeah, Paris has this wonderful system of underground, open-air toilets that also happen to have electric trains running through them.

That's exactly true. The Paris Métro smells like urine. And worse. Every underground might smell like that here and there. But in Paris it's so extreme that you might think Patrick Süskind wrote about contemporary Paris and not about the 18th century.

Maybe one of these days French culture will catch on to deodorant

"...noting that I do not myself find Paris to be so dirty."

Well, no, thanks to the Japanese!

We should ship some poor Americans over to do their cleaning for them. Win-win!

Paying all those immigrants to work will cost to much and kill jobs and then the services in Paris will be horrible and the Japanese will not come.

Instead what Paris needs is fewer workers pay to serve customers to boost profits which will drawn in more Japanese because profits creates wealth and more tourist spending.

After all, look at the large number of Japanese tourist coming to the US where pollution of all kinds is high and service is generally poor but profits are at record highs.

I don't like dirt myself. I find clean and clutter free environments are much easier to enjoy.

I am a big follower of Marie Kondo. Check her out

Paris has long had a reputation for being dirty and smelling, long before modern tourism. There's a general urine smell that pervades the whole city.

No there isn't. That or I have a less refined nose.

I second the urine smell. It isn't everywhere, but the subways overwhelmingly smell like a senile cat lady's house.

All the diesel bothers me in Europe.

Cigarettes too

Well, there's always "the Eiffel Tower Experience" in Los Vegas. Perhaps it's cleaner.

I heard this reputation before, and did not find Paris dirty enough to be a problem. (Seattle and Portland are my reference cities.) The worst part of the place is the tourists. ;)

But it does seem less than optimal that the garbage trucks drive down the cafe-lined streets during peak eating hours. Power to the public sector union.

Never spent any sizable time in the PacNW, but if Seattle and Portland are anything like San Francisco I don't think the bar is too high. There are quite few major American cities that aren't plain embarrassing on the world stage of cleanliness and general appearance. Of the cities I'm familiar with, Chicago and DC are the only ones I'd risk betting on.

Portland and Seattle are positively Canadian in comparison to San Francisco.

No, SF is far dirtier. It gets peed on more often, and rinsed by the rain less often.

Better for the trucks to drive down the streets and do they work causing noise during prime sleeping hours, not during the prime dining hours from 8 am to 10 pm. How dare unions limit working to 8 am to 4 pm!

Paris syndrome doesn't really surprise me when you consider how many Japanese know little of the real France they haven't managed to gather from fashion magazines (cited by Wikipedia) and romance manga like Rose of Versailles (which Wiki doesn't cite, but ought to).

>I do not myself find Paris to be so dirty.

When was the last time you've visited? Fifteen years ago I'd say Paris and London were about equal in terms of cleanliness and general appearance. Since then Paris seems to have taken a nose dive. On my last visit I was walking down the Avenue Reny Coty, and there were two homeless campouts that playing Keeping up With the Jonses. Right in the middle of what used to be a beautifully manicured garden median, one bum had a sprawling outside sitting room set up outside his spacious tent. Not to be outdone his neighbor bum had an entire home gym, complete with exercise bike. Both petite maisons enjoyed enviable vistas of some of the Continent's most extensive and progressive guerrilla street art.

In contrast, Boris Johnston's London now rivals the Nordic capitals in terms of cleanliness, order, safety and general appearance. Somehow even the weather seems less dreary.

Has Scandinavia declined so much ever since the immivasion?

Wouldn't it cost less to hire some locals? I have to think the tour guide labor cost is more per hour...
This is the weirdest part of this story, to me. I wonder if the hidden part of the story is something like "due to French hiring regulations, the Japanese couldn't manage to hire locals to do the cleaning."

Good PR for the guides. Presumably they're also hoping the city will take the hint and do as you suggest ...

Good point on the PR angle. And the shame angle. Wasn't thinking of those.

They just like to make locals feel inferior.
If they hadn't cleaned tup after themselves, we ourselves would have done so. Eventually. Or swept the dirty under the green.

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