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Pros and cons of visiting Shanghai Expo

19 Comments

On May 1, Expo 2010 Shanghai opens its gates for a six-month run. Some 233 countries and organizations will have exhibits. Even the most modest projections are for a turnout of 70 million visitors, eclipsing the previous world record of 64 million set in Osaka in 1970.

"Some projections are for 100 million visitors," the promotion office coordinator responsible for Japan boasts to Shukan Gendai (May 1). "Pre-sales of tickets have already reached 20 million. We're expecting 3.5 million visitors from abroad, hopefully from 1 to 1.5 million from Japan."

Tickets for the first-day events and on other special dates are priced at 3,400 Japanese yen; for the other days tickets are 2,700 yen (pre-sale in both cases).

Having already hosted five major world expositions, Japan is something of an expo "otaku" (geek) country when it comes such events, and since Shanghai is just 3 1/2 hours from Narita, a big turnout is expected, according to Minoru Ikeda, head of the Japan China Economic and Trade Relations Center's Shanghai office.

Reiko Sasaki of Kinki Nippon Tourist says her company's "Holiday" package tours on the expo's first three days are already sold out.

"We're recommending visits in May and June," Sasaki advises. "Especially June 12 to 18, which will be 'Japan Week.' There will be lots of special events."

The sprawling expo site consists of five zones (A through E). Zones A through C are in Pudong, across the Huangpu River from the old city. The Japanese national pavilion will be in Zone A, along with the Chinese and Indian Pavilions.

Among the highlights of the Japanese corporate pavilion will be a gleaming array of sanitary facilities supplied by ceramics maker INAX, which will enable Japan to make good on its claim that it truly boasts the world's classiest toilets.

"Concerns have arisen over whether the expo will have sufficient toilet facilities, and it's possible visitors will stampede to use these cozy fixtures, with heated seats and washer nozzles," chuckles a PR spokesman for the pavilion. "But we're discouraging people from just coming in to use the toilet."

Since between 400,000 to 600,000 visitors are expected on some days, crowding will almost certainly be a problem. For instance, the magazine predicts it may be unrealistic to expect a leisurely dining experience in the restaurants at the site.

Visitors may also be put off by the locals' rough edges.

"When Japanese stand in a queue, they open up a little space from each other. But in China, people stand shoved right up against each other," warns Mika Sudo, a Shanghai-based journalist. "That's to keep anyone from cutting in line. And Chinese eat while walking around and shout at each other in loud voices regardless of where they are. That might be a bit disconcerting for many Japanese. But on the other hand, with China's emergence on the world stage, it's a good opportunity to get acclimatized to them."

Shukan Gendai then turns to safety and security. Business pundit Takashi Kadokura warns that some buildings at the site may be unsound due to cutting corners on materials and use of poorly paid laborers. And while nobody really wants to be reminded, the threat of terrorism lingers.

"With Shanghai's residential prices soaring by 30% a year, there's a lot of resentment among the city's economically disadvantaged classes," warns international affairs analyst Tetsuya Kozeki. He adds, "An even greater danger is the possibility of some act by members of China's oppressed ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, who would hope to attract the world's attention to their cause."

Well, says Shukan Gendai, quoting an old aphorism that goes, "If you don't go in the tiger's lair, you'll never catch a tiger cub."

Shanghai 2010 is going to be the biggest spectacle in human history. Will you enter the lair and be part of it?

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot squid-on-a-stick.

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Will you enter the lair and be part of it?

Only if they are selling milk, dumplings and children's toys.

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Japanese people should go especially during Japan Week? Isnt the point to learn about other cultures? "Alright. Lets go to China and have everything just like home. We`ll learn a lot."

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Sounds to noisy !!!!! Would never go !!!! Plus the blue guy looks lke Gumby.

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ewwww in your dreams. Maybe they can learn something from the tourists, I don't think people would want to become acclimatized to them. Aichi Banpaku was bad enough and that was in Japan with no cutting in lines, shouting, eating & walking, spiting and what not. I can't even imagine what will happen when the toilet queues become obscenely long and people find relief elsewhere.

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@guruken, LOL!

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ewwww in your dreams. Maybe they can learn something from the tourists, I don't think people would want to become acclimatized to them. Aichi Banpaku was bad enough and that was in Japan with no cutting in lines, shouting, eating & walking, spiting and what not. I can't even imagine what will happen when the toilet queues become obscenely long and people find relief elsewhere.

do what people do during new year's eve countdown in new york city's time square - pee/take a dump on the spot. haven't done it, but seen plenty of examples.

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still struggling whether its worth putting up with the uncivilised behaviour of the Shanghainese to visit the expo. The thought of having to visit the public restrooms in China is daunting. I don't know if the classy Japanese toilets can survive the Chinese patronage. But I do agree this will be one of the best and biggest expos ever. Thinking thinking...

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I'd love to go, but I hate crowds. Aichi was tolerable though. I'd recommend people going there to try the airport maglev, and also take the bullet trains to Hangzhou (or was it Suzhou?) to visit the gardens. Just try and ignore the bad habits of some of the locals and duck when you're crossing the roads - you might get hit in the face by the laundry. Don't go up that famous tower in Shanghai - waste of money since I couldn't even see the next building because of the pollution.

Enjoy waiting in the queues.

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chiisaishima,

Stay home, in you classy Japanese toilet.

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What pros? I can only think of the cons ...

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Maybe Japan should host a World Expo soon.

Only problem if they did, no one around the world would bother coming.

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Japan hosted the world Expo last time in Nagoya..... Im in China now... there is a buzz going around.... Could be the bugs!!!! hehehe I think it will be very good in Shanghai....

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China spends so much effort in international events.. scary

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God... I will never go to this. China is so NOT my cup of tea in any way shape or form. I feel bad for the Japanese .. hopefully the Obachans on the tour packages will give them all a run for their money.

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China spends so much effort in international events.. scary

if a country was granted such an intl event (world expo, world cup, olympics, etc), i doubt it would go the route of all expenses spared and 10% effort.

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Pros and cons of visiting Shanghai Expo

PRO: Sounds like a big party with many interesting things to see from around the world.

CON: It is in CHINA!

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pro: it is in china! con: sounds like too big a party, with some interesting things to see from around the world

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Shanghai is a great city, allways moving so it is well worth the trip in itself for the fun of it's night life. But in the city itself there isn't much to visit, you have to travel around for that. Going there just for the expo.. i was tempted, until i heard you had to queue 4h to go in the most popular buildings, only to stay there 15 mn.

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