I have a special rule for travel: Never carry a map. I prefer to ask for directions. Sometimes I get lost, but I usually have a good time. And there are some other advantages: I can practice a new language, meet new people, learn new customs, and the like. I can find out about different “styles” of directions every time I ask, “How can I get to the post office?” Here are some illustrations of those differences.
Tourists are often confused in Japan. That’s because most streets there don’t have names; outside big cities, people most often use landmarks in their directions. For example, the Japanese might tell travelers something like this: “Go straight down to the corner. Turn left at the big hotel with the sushi bar and go past the fruit market. The post office is next to the fast-food place.”
People in Los Angeles, California, have no idea of directions or distance on the map. Residents there are almost always in their cars, so they measure distance in time. “How far away is the post office?” you ask. “Oh,” they might answer, “I guess it’s about five minutes from here.” You say, “Yes, but how many miles away is it?” They rarely know.
What if a person doesn’t know the answer to your question about the location of a place? A New Yorker might say, “Sorry, I have no idea” and walk away quickly. But in Yucatan, Mexico, not many residents answer, “I don’t know.” People in Yucatan may believe that a quick “I don’t know” is impolite; they might stay and talk to you—and usually they’ll try to give an answer, sometimes a wrong one. A tourist without a good sense of direction can get very lost in this southern region!
One thing will help you everywhere—in Japan, Los Angeles, Mexico, or any other place. You might not understand a person’s words, but you can probably understand the body language—the facial expressions, gestures, motions, movements, and so on. He or she will usually turn and then point. Go in that direction and you’ll find the post office—maybe!
【Group】What’s the best title for the article?
(A)Getting around without a Map
(B)The Importance of the Body Language
(C)The Use of Landmarks in Giving Directions
(D)How Can I Get to the Post Office?