Recently, Dwight and I went on two wonderful guided tours. We visited six shrines and temples (Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle, Heian Shrine, Sanjusangendo, and Kiyomizu Temple). At some point during these very important tours, I grew more interested in observing other people’s behaviors than I was in learning about the temple that I was visiting. Initially, I thought that people were being rude unintentionally. I’m about 5’1” and am used to people standing in front of me. This was similar. People would frequently fill up the small space in front that I’d left for consideration of others. Or they would walk directly in the line of the photo I was trying to capture. That was day one. On day two, there was a very specific couple that literally elbowed their way past me, oftentimes pushing or nudging me out of their way so that they could get a better view. One time I reminded myself that I was not going to lose it overseas because others were choosing to be inconsiderate. Consequently, this list was born.
Rule #1: Be aware of your surroundings.
You are not the only one on the tour. There are other people present who would like to see and hear whatever it is that you’re trying so desperately to see and hear. It doesn’t take much to look to the left or right before you step into someone’s perfect shot.
Rule #2: Take your picture and keep it moving.
Selfies are cool, but ain’t nobody got time to wait for you to get the perfect pic in front of the Imperial Palace. The same applies for traditional picture taking. Remember, the tour guide is probably on a schedule, which means the group is on a schedule. A little efficiency and consideration can help everyone.
Rule #3: Keep your hands to yourself.
We’re all here to see the same sights, so there’s no reason to push, shove or elbow someone out of the way. Usually the line moves, so it is highly likely that your turn to view the exhibit is coming up.
Rule #4: Leave your attitude at home (or wherever you found it)
There’s not much to this one. If your spouse, kid, friend, or whoever made you mad prior to hopping on the tour bus, then tuck that away in the back of your brain and deal with it later. Your negative attitude could spoil someone else’s experience.
Rule #5: Be open to connect with new people.
Guided tours are strange situations because they’re small communities created for a short time. Just like any community, it’s nice to be nice. Smile, nod or just be pleasant. This might open up an unexpected conversation with your fellow group. And, maybe they’ll be a little more patient cause now they know you’re Mary from Montana.
*Thanks to D who added a couple of these.