The Japanese question

The first thing you do when you buy a house in the UK is to have a survey done, to check that there are no structural problems such as subsidence, or damp, or dry rot, or anything else untoward.
I've had many of these done over the years, but I've never had one that mentioned Japanese tourists as a possible hazard!
Under the heading "Environmental issues to check and other considerations", my surveyor notes: "Bibury is very popular with tourists (especially Japanese, who often wander around the village peering into houses and gardens).
This is absolutely true - indeed, many of the houses on the main street, down by the river where the tourists tend to congregate, have signs in Japanese which (I assume) say things like "Private".
"They're always very polite," said my surveyor, "and all they want to do is to take photographs, but they do tend to assume that the entire village is one big historical attraction."
The only access to my new house is through the gate onto the lane (dry-stone walls surround the entire garden), but even so, it's still a focus of attention. My mother came to see it with me the other week, and says that she was photographed several times by groups of Japanese tourists while she was photographing the house.
I think this is quite amusing and sort of charming in a way. (I hope I still think that in years to come...)
I also like the idea that there are people around all the time. It gives the village a sort of buzz, and certainly there would not be a shop, or a post office, or two pubs, or any of the other facilities that make it quite a civilised place to live if it was not for the tourist hordes.
Wherever you live, town or country, you have to make compromises. 人生はそういうものだ - as they say in Japan.


  1. Thankfully, the tourists are respectful. Dry-stone walls fascinate. Here, it's a dying art.

  2. Japanese tourists as a notifiable hazard - that is a surprise! In time, I'm sure your all-new garden will find its place in the Yellow Book. Which was how I first found your original blog.

  3. I'll be happy to lend you my Japanese-speaking daughter to guard the gate ... as long as I can come with her!

  4. Like that one about the Japanese. And the dry-stone walls. Many years ago when I was studying, one day while we were listening to a lecture, somebody happened to look out of the window and there was a whole row of Chinese sailors lined up, looking in through the window at what was going on :-)))


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