Stan wisely planned for Tokyo to be our last stop knowing that I would want to shop and there would be many bags to carry. LOL.
I absolutely love to shop in Tokyo. Unless you have experienced it, it is hard to understand the impeccable customer service that is standard in Japan. Everything – from the sights, sounds, smells and [impossibly] perfectly manicured, extremely polite, over abundant staff – is designed to make patrons feel like royalty.
I actually spent some time thinking about this.
I have traveled (and shopped) in many different cities and I believe part of the reason customer service in Japan feels extraordinary to me, has partially to do with California. Our laid back, independent, no fuss, get it fast, get it cheap mentally contributes to our being satisfied with less. (Emphases on satisfied.) It’s even worse in other states – like West Texas where, in some cases, employees don’t even speak English. Conversely, in the mid-west, like Chicago, and certainly in the south, like East Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and North Carolina (all places I have visited), the old school commitment to service still exists (although not to the degree that we see in Japan).
So, I’m wondering … what would happen in the U.S. if we polished off our manners and committed ourselves to excellence? What if we embraced the idea of serving and made it the basis for everything we do? How would that affect our bottom line? How would that change us as a nation? As individuals?
It’s worth thinking about.
Japanese women do not point. Ever. Instead, they have perfected Vanna White hands to draw your attention to something. It’s much more elegant.
Japanese people are very quiet. They speak in hushed tones and are careful not to bang, bump, drop, slam or do anything that is noisy. At breakfast the other day, a busboy was clearing the table next to us and a fork slipped from his tray and clattered on the table. He was embarrassed and turned to us and apologized. Can you imagine? I observed two exceptions: they slurp their soup and the men get louder (especially the younger men) after too much sake.
Small trays are used as mediators between parties during sales transactions. Money and credit cards do not pass from hand-to-hand. I had a hard time remembering this rule and often tried to hand someone my credit card. They would simply use Vanna White hands to draw my attention to the tray between us. Oops!
People do not eat or drink in motion. In the states, we walk around with our beverages in hand, especially water bottles. In Japan, people purchase food/drink, consume it, throw away the container and then continue on their way. As a result, there a very few trash cans around the city. The only exception is ice cream.
I never saw a single person chewing gum.
Restaurants have pre-set menus and they WILL NOT modify SETS under any circumstances.
Japan, Great Britain and Australia drive on the left side of the road.
Japanese women do not cross their legs. I saw a few exceptions but, very few.
It seems like every person on the planet has a cell phone and has their face buried in it!
I don’t recall seeing a single obese Japanese person.
I am sitting on the plane in Tokyo. In a few minutes, I will push my seat back, snuggle under a blanket, make a movie selection and settle in for a 10+ hour flight home. It has been a wonderful trip. I can’t thank Stan enough for sharing his miles and allowing me to tag along on another adventure. I am so blessed to have a friend like him! Our trips are the sweetest blessing and the memories will last a lifetime.
Japan – until we meet again, may God bless you and make His face shine upon you. XO