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Regarding the story “Long lines plague Narita” in the March 27 edition, I am a woman of “a certain age,” just returned from 13 days of traveling on my own in Tokyo and Kansai. This was my first trip back after spending three years in Japan as an English teacher in the 1980s.

One thing that stood out in my trip was the everyday kindness of Japanese people toward me when I asked for directions, which was often. (I did ask in Japanese although most people switched to English quickly in the conversation, and yes, their English was better than my Japanese.)

In cold and rainy Yokohama, a young man walked with me a couple of blocks to my destination. In Tokyo, a young woman left the subway to walk with me outside the station when I was looking for a restroom. In Osaka late at night, a cheerful couple walked blocks out of their way with me to my hotel even though I knew the way and had only needed directions to the subway. Sometimes people apologized for not knowing how to direct me, only to look it up on their phone and catch up with me on the street to tell me what they found out. I could go on.

Although it was great to have tourist-friendly English speaker traveler assistance at Haneda and English announcements on trains, I see this everyday kindness toward individual travelers as Japan’s strength in tourism. I plan to return.

Thank you, Japan.

SHEILA RILEY
ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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