Two unnamed Taiwanese tourists gained instant notoriety yesterday after photographs of a Japanese hot spring hotel room that they are suspected of wrecking were circulated widely online.
The photos were reportedly posted on Facebook by a Taiwanese woman under the name Miki Juan. According to the page, the woman works at a hotel in Nasu District, Tochigi Prefecture, on Japan’s Honshu Island.
“Our hotel cares very much about the tourists from Taiwan and has been friendly to them. However, two Taiwanese tourists who stayed at the hotel last night chose to repay the kindness this way [referring to a photo of the room,” she wrote. “Four sliding doors and two windows in the Japanese-style room were completely destroyed. The hotel owner’s wife, who is also Taiwanese, was so angry that she was in tears.”
The photographs and messages were subsequently shared by more than 5,000 netizens, many of whom also responded to her posts, condemning the “acts of vandalism.”
“Do they think that they are still in a Taiwanese night market, playing some kind of ‘poke-and-win’ game?” one commenter said. “The compensation will probably mean nothing to these brats, whose parents will pay for the damage.”
Though Juan said the hotel has asked the travel agency to seek compensation on its behalf, another netizen using the name Kevin Chung said the hotel was being too nice to the suspects and should disclose their names so that they would avoid repeating such shameful acts.
Juan said that the two Taiwanese tourists are minors who had not traveled with their parents, adding that she could not reveal their names because it would violate the Personal Information Protection Act (個人資料保護法).
She also said that her aim was not to publicly shame them.
“My purpose is not to find or punish them. Instead, I want to get Taiwanese thinking about how they should behave themselves when they travel overseas,” she said.
“I worked in a Taiwanese travel agency before and it was really embarrassing to hear complaints about our clients from our business partners in Japan. However, I was really furious this time. We have worked so hard to encourage Japanese to pay more attention to Taiwanese tourists and all these efforts could go down the drain because of the misbehaving few,” she said.
Juan said that the two tourists apologized and paid for the damage, urging people to refrain from trying to identify and locate them.
Travel Agent Association secretary-general Roget Hsu (許高慶) said that this was the first time that he heard of such an incident.
“This case shows that more needs to be done to enhance citizenship education in Taiwan,” he said.