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Japan….where friendliness costs nothing!

Posted by Clayton James on June 9, 2007

The week has flown by and my time in Japan has been memorable and pleasurable. I was initially a bit hesitant in taking on this course as I am so busy back in Australia I knew that many hours (weeks) would be required to skill up and present an engaging and knowledgeable course. However, I am so glad I decided to go as not only did I skill up further in another area I was lucky enough to see some of the local sights, meet some amazing people and eat some tasty dishes.

One thing that stands out in Japan is the amazing service you receive. By service I mean the little things like a smile, politeness and general look of happiness. These simple gestures go a long way and don’t cost anything, but when I return to Australia it is very different scenario. I spoke with some guys from the US who are currently working in Japan and they said they actually become a little depressed when returning home as people are generally more self absorbed and this type of service is lost.

This is what I mean (this was a pattern for the whole trip):

  • Getting off the plane in Tokyo I caught a bus to my hotel. The baggage handlers who take your luggage and load the under carriage actually smile and laugh, treat your luggage with respect and just before the bus leaves they come aboard, bow and wish you a safe trip.
  • Going for a tourist walk through the town one morning I stopped in at a family bakery and bought a croissant and fish cake. I could see the baker in the back of the shop as his wife was serving me. As I handed over the money he came out with two curry pastry rolls (which were more expensive than the items I bought) to give to me. It was a great moment.

What makes an overseas trip memorable and pleasurable?

For me it is simple, it is all about culture (people and food). Treat people the way you would like to be treated and good things will happen, just you wait and see.

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