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Japan Will Make Its Signs Easier for Foreigners to Understand

(Photo: Wicki)

Now, which way do we turn to find Nazis? If you glance quickly at this sign in Kamakura, Japan, you might think that they're everywhere. Johnny of the blog Spoon & Tamago understands your confusion:

When we moved to Japan in the early 80s my dad, a Jewish New Yorker from the Bronx, quickly realized that he had made a terrible mistake. “We’re surrounded by Nazi’s,” he proclaimed, wide-eyed, as we all stared at a map of our local neighborhood in Koenji. He was, of course, looking at the manji symbol (卍), a reverse swastika that could understandably be mistaken for the symbol of Nazi Germany, instead of its intended representation of Buddhist temples.

Once foreign travelers have calmed down about the Nazi menace, they still have problems. A lot of the street signs common to Japan are non-intuitive to outsiders. That's why the country is changing many of its standard navigational signs:

(Image: Aashi)

The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan anticipates a lot of tourists coming for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

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