From NickThis weekend I was fortunate enough to spend some time again with my father here in Japan. I don't get to see him much so I really treasure the time we get to spend together. This weekend we decided to do something that we used to do in America all the time. We went to see a movie. Even though he has been traveling for many years and to many countries this we the first time he went to see a movie in a foreign country. This reminded me that of a small side hobby I developed while traveling. That is to go to a movie theater in as many different countries as I can. As of writing this I have been to a movie theater in 8 different countries, America, China, Japan, France, Vietnam, Malaysia, The Philippians, and Myanmar. Though there are many similarities between the theaters in different counties there are some differences that I'd like to share.
I will start with my home country of America. Probably the biggest difference about going to the movies in America is we don't choose our seats when we buy the ticket. We go in to the theater and find the seat we want to sit in by walking around and looking. That means it is very important to get to there a bit early, especially if it is a popular movie. It can be a problem if you go really early to get a good seat and no one else goes to that movie, then you have just wasted a half hour of your time waiting by yourself in an empty movie theater. Though, that is still better than getting there late and having to sit in the front row.
After living in China for a year, I had the chance to go to many movies while there. One thing that stood out as being a little unique in Chinese movie theaters is people talk a little bit more. Maybe not too loud but noticeably a little more than other places I have been.
The coldest movie theater I have even been in was in Vietnam. I was freezing. When I looked around I saw that a lot of people had brought a jacket or long sleeve shirt even though it was the middle of a Vietnamese summer. My friend said that it was one of the attractions of the movie theater. People liked to go there because it was so cold. The theater in Malaysia was similar but not quite as cold.
I'm not sure if this is standard in every movie theater in The Philippines but the seat that I sat in was the most comfortable seat I've ever sat in at a movie. It was very soft, it rocked back in forth a little bit, it could recline, and it had a nice head rest.
It was over 15 years ago that I went to France and saw a movie. I don't remember much because it was so long ago. I do remember there where ashtrays built into the seats and they seemed to have been used recently. I'm not sure if this is still true but at that time it seemed you could smoke in the movie theater in France.
Myanmar was a small single screen theater. I saw a Chinese movie with English subtitles. It seems unlikely that anyone would spend the money to translate a movie into Burmese or include Burmese subtitles because there are not enough theaters to make it worthwhile. So most movies will probably have English subtitles if they have them at all.
The one thing I noticed about Japan what was unique is the fact that everyone stays in their seat until the ending credits have finished. This is a little different from the rest of the world. Most places people will get up and leave the second the movie ends and not watch the credits. I asked my Japanese friend why and she said it was good manners.