I'm writing a book (travelogue) about Japan in English, detailing my walk across the country a few years ago. My target audience is English speaking countries, and I'm trying to write in American English.
In this book I'm often using units of time, distance, weight, temperature and so on. Since these measures vary from country to country and since they had a big impact on my daily life (how hot it was, how long a distance I had covered etc.) I'm considering using the Japanese system, because it was largely in this way I was thinking. Road signs were in kilometers and the Japanese units appear frequently in dialogs throughout the book.
The Japanese use both 12- and 24-hour clocks and the Celsius scale, along with SI-units like kilograms and kilometers. During my travels it was in this way road signs told distance, and it was in this way I conversed with people about distances, temperatures and weights.
For time, I think most people are familiar with a 12-hour clock, and I feel it lends itself well to writing. For example:
- "I left the park at around 10 AM and walked until [...]" [Sounds fine]
- "I left the park at around 10 and walked until [...]" [Sounds like something is missing, even though I'm using the 24-hour clock on a daily basis myself]
- "I left the park at around 10:00 and walked until [...]" [Here it's ok, but I'm specifying the minutes when I'm talking about an estimated time, which feels a little odd]
I'm unsure, however, if it would bother readers using other systems, such as Americans. I'm considering writing the alternative units in parenthesis, but at the same time I'm afraid it would make the text feel a bit more clunky or rigid.
Temperatures are not posing much of a problem, since they can be represented in a compact way:
- X°C [Feels nice]
- X°C (Y°F) [Feels slightly clunky but works]
Other units make it a little trickier:
- X kilometers [Feels nice]
- X kilometers (Y miles) [Long/clunky in text]
- X km (Y mi.) [Short but, to me, feels a bit rough/informal]
What do you guys think?
EDIT/Clarfication: Removed the part about Sweden, it's not very relevant to the question and is not part of the main objective of the book.
EDIT/Clarfication #2: This is not intended as a travel guide, I'm rather trying to convey what I felt and what I experienced.