From “Charge OK” to “Watch Others When Washing“, this set of downloadable icons for businesses is informative and hilarious at the same time.
As Japan gears up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, local and prefectural governments are working hard to find ways to accommodate foreign tourists and help overcome language barriers at establishments like restaurants and onsen hot springs around the country.
Iwate Prefecture in the northern Tohoku region has been implementing a plan to welcome foreign travellers to the area since April last year, with a set of pictograms for local businesses to download and use on their premises. Titled “Ten Ways to Make Travellers Happy”, this collection of black-and-white icons is designed to catch the eye of tourists with fun graphics, which include an image of a naked samurai with a topknot.
The samurai is instrumental in providing guidance for first-time visitors to Japan’s public baths. Although we have to hope the below message to watch (out for) others when washing doesn’t get misinterpreted!
The samurai also asks visitors to avoid washing inside the tub. Obviously, smuggling your crab friends into the bath inside your hair is off-limits too.
▼ He’s also here to spoil the fantasy of drinking refreshing Japanese sake while bathing.
And although he looks like someone covered in measles or chickenpox here, he’s actually dripping with water, to show you how not to enter the locker room after your bath. Wipe all that excess water off before entering the locker room, samurai!
As well as helping foreigners out with the finer points of bathing, the Japanese warrior also appears in a number of pictograms to disperse some other handy information too. Here he is letting us know the level of spiciness contained in certain dishes.
▼ And here he lets us know which dishes are good for vegetarians.
For some reason, the samurai is still naked while holding an electric power cord to let us know that charging here is ok.
Although he does finally get dressed in a Japanese rising sun T-shirt to meet up with others at the designated meeting point!
To see the full set of 26 pictograms in the “Ten Ways to Make Travellers Happy” series, check out the official website here. Unlike the controversial onsen hot spring mark and the traditional temple pictogram, these icons are a lot easier to understand universally so let’s hope they don’t run into any problems!