Japan started a visa exemption program for Thais a few years ago, which successfully created a huge tourism boom. Japan is an ideal destination for Thais that have the money to go on vacation, because although their cultural relevance has been overshadowed by Korea in many sectors here (cosmetics, home electronics, music, tv series, etc.), their image remains strong in others (cars, high end cosmetics, top name electronics, food, manga, etc.), and was much stronger before.
In addition, Japan is perceived as a more friendly and alluring place to visit because of the language (which many Thais can speak a few words of), the food (local versions of which are widely available in Thailand), and the people (who are viewed as a bit stiff, but polite and helpful/friendly). That said, Japanglish is unique and can sound ridiculous, even to the Japanese themselves.
This is a great vid (thx Mark!).
Here’s an alt that will probably be used by my wife’s Japanese section at the uni for a performance at some point in the future, lol:
When we play catch or practice hitting balls around the vacant lots and parks around here, people stop to watch. Hmm… I’ve never seen anyone else playing baseball in Thailand, either! I’m not a big baseball fan or anything, but it’s great for kids’ hand-eye coordination.
I found the equipment for sale at a secondhand Japanese goods store in town. This was a very popular business until very recently – you could buy containers of household stuff from Japan at various Thai shipping ports for around 70,000 baht and up. A lot of people started used Japanese good shops with stuff from a single container. You couldn’t see what was in the container before you bought it, so there would be some new stores opening with tons of old clothes, others loaded with baby strollers and rice cookers (the wrong voltage for TH), and many with just worthless crap. The best containers were probably the ones loaded with wooden furniture and bicycles. Many of the products were packed in similar moving company boxes, which led to speculation as to where this stuff was coming from.