25 ways Japanese politeness can get on the nerves of Japanese people

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There is such a thing as being too courteous, and an online survey ranked the 25 most common examples of just that in Japan.

Japan is legendary for its adherence to etiquette, formality and customer service. However, sometimes these acts of kindness can go too far beyond what people need from friends, family, and businesses.

Whether by making people feeling uncomfortable, burdened to reciprocate, or just plain embarrassed, these are 25 things that Japanese people could use less of, according to a ranking by survey-meisters over at the website Goo Ranking.

25 Yakigakari: The person sentenced to grill

Much like in the west, at Japanese barbeques or yakiniku joints, there may be one person in the group who takes the tongs and never, ever lets go. While constantly providing the rest of the group with grilled meat and veggies, they have almost no time to enjoy the food themselves.

This can make the rest of the group feel uncomfortable as they wonder why the yakigakari won’t give it a rest. This can also irk people who want their food cooked in a particular way, but can’t get past the yakigakari’s monopoly of the grill.

24 Surprise Birthdays

Surprise!!! At least, you better act surprised – and thrilled for that matter – because you have suddenly become the star of an event you were not prepared for. Not only that, you have become the crux of the mood for the entire evening’s festivities and will let everyone down if you’re not feeling particularly into being asked, “We’re you surprised?” a few dozen times and whatever else we have planned for you.

23 Sharing Homegrown Vegetables

This doesn’t seem like such a bad thing at all, and actually isn’t. The homegrown foods often surpass store-bought in terms of freshness and nutrition. However, they can sometimes come in quantities that’ll make your head spin.

22 The Nabe Judge

Known in Japanese as a “nabe bugyo” or “nabe judge,” they are the person at a group dinner who dictates what should and shouldn’t go into the mixed hot-pot known as nabe. Although, they’re acting in the interest of everyone having the best possible meal, their authoritarian ways of controlling what should be a casual meal can be annoying to others.

21 Constant Omiyage

Contrary to western countries who buy souvenirs for mainly themselves, Japanese travelers will often stock up on omiyage or presents for their friends and families back home out of a sense of obligation. They can range from snacks or liquor to clothing or distinct national items like Swedish surströmming.

20 Mid-Year and End-of-Year Gifts

In Japan giving gifts for birthdays or Christmas isn’t quite as prevalent as some other places. However, there is the annual traditions of giving presents half-way through and at the end of the year. And with it come the same anxieties and work that go into present shopping as people everywhere feel.

19 Predictive Text on Mobile Phones

Even machines are capable of being intrusively helpful. Personally I’ve never had a problem with it. In fact, I’m typing out this entire article on a mobile phone and ham tonne had probation Yeti.

18 People Serving You Food You Don’t Want

Most restaurants in Japan have shared eating where everyone picks from the same plate. This style is fraught with potential acts of rudeness unintentional and otherwise, one of which is a person handing you a plate of squid meat soaked in its own fermented viscera (shiokara) under the assumption that you want it.

In such an instance you would be the jerk for refusing the cephalopod guts, leaving you with no alternative but to dig in.

17 Friends and Family Playing Cupid

This one’s probably pretty universal. You might think there isn’t anything worse that being thrust into a potential relationship with some stranger at the whim of a third party, but we haven’t gotten to number 13 yet.

16 Handmade Candy and Presents

I have to think this one really hinges on how well the giver can make candy and presents, so it’s best to perhaps consider this a wild-card in the rankings.

15 Send-off at the Beauty Salon

I wouldn’t know this first-hand since I never go to beauty salons. I’m a manly man who gets his hair cut by fighting a bear and letting it win just enough so that it begins biting off my excess locks.

However, I have seen the pomp and circumstance that goes on after someone at a salon in Japan has just completed their cut, dye or whatever else. A group of staff crowd around the customer waving goodbye and offering their heartfelt thanks in enthusiastic voices on the streets for all to see and hear.

While it’s nice to be congratulated on our achievements in life, getting our hair done probably doesn’t warrant such acclaim.

14 Housework Done by a Husband who Sucks at Doing Housework

Luckily my wife doesn’t have this problem. In fact, just the other day I was doing the dishes but ran out of soap. Thinking quickly I grabbed a bar from the shower and finished the job on time.

You should have seen the look on her face when I told her, too. She was so amazed she had a husband as cunning and resourceful as I, that she went into the bedroom and locked the door, giving me the entire house to myself for the evening!

13 Getting Set up with Someone Else’s Ex

This one really shouldn’t need an explanation, but since it’s on the list perhaps one is in order for some people.

It’s exactly as if I came up to you and offered you my toothbrush. I tried it out a few times but it didn’t work quite right or just wore out over time.

Of course, your response would probably be to kick me in the shin and walk away, and would have every right to do so. So if you try to set someone up with an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, you ought to be prepared for the same kind of reaction.

12 Convenience Stores Asking about Point Cards

Not a day goes by that I don’t get queried by my convenience store clerk as to whether I have a T-point-super-member card or whatever. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that just getting one would be less of a hassle than constantly being asked for one. Also, consideration of how often I’m apparently going to a convenience store to be annoyed by this logically indicates that I should take advantage of a point card.

Still…I refuse to give them the satisfaction.

11 Exchanging Birthday Gifts with People you Don’t Care About

I was going to comment on the custom of obligatory gifts to certain co-workers and other people you’re not all that close with. However, I was contacted by high-ranking members of the gift certificate industry who informed me that I “had better shut up” about this tradition if I “knew what’s good” for me.

10 Neighbors Receiving Packages on Your Behalf

I’m actually surprised this is even legal, but apparently it goes on in Japan. If a courier comes to your home when you’re not around they may go to your neighbor’s and ask them to hold it sometimes under the pretense of mistaking the address. Often, if your neighbor is like mine who refuses to have anything to do with you, they’ll just politely decline and the delivery staff will have to write out one of those little papers.

However, if you have one of those nosey types next door, prepared to have your Gackt hug pillow from Amazon in the hands of another.

9 Getting a New Year Card from Someone You Haven’t Heard from Since Forever

In Japan, exchanging New Year Cards is an annual custom wherein people give out small postcards to pretty much every conceivable acquaintance from their high school friends to the guy who refills their water cooler.

With such a wide range of people it’s only natural to have or be an unrequited recipient of a New Year Card. While most people simply shrug it off, there still is a pang when you get that card from an old middle school friend whom you haven’t seen or heard from in 20 years. Upon realizing you haven’t sent them one, you have automatically become a jerk. Happy holidays!

8 Kids’ Clothes Bought by Your Mother-in-Law

Always a sticky situation: naturally when your mother-in-law presents you a with sweater using slightly outdated wording like “Mommy made a very gay baby!” you have no choice but to bring it out during family gatherings which hopefully aren’t public.

7 People Bring You Food From a Buffet

Aside from the increased exposure to disease vectors, part of the fun of going to a buffet is being able to customize your own dish to your liking. However, if someone takes the liberty of getting your food for you, you might find yourself filling up on pizza slices before being able to partake in any squid soaked in fermented viscera.

6 Public Toilet Paper Folded into a Triangle

I actually rather like “fire fold” in which the cleaning staff will fold up the end of a toilet paper roll into a neat little triangle. After all, it’s a sign that this toilet had been freshly cleaned just before you arrived.

However, from a glass-half-empty perspective I can also see issues. The cleaner had just finished scrubbing away at toilet soiled by lord-knows-how-many people and then immediately without washing their hands folds up the toilet paper to finish the job. This could mean you are potentially wiping with the particles of fecal matter of an untold number of people.

5 People Worrying about Your Future Marriage and Children

This one will probably be in the top five of any such list around the world. The much loathed “When are you going to settle down and have kids?” question comes from a place of caring but is as annoying as it is futile.

I mean really, has anyone who has ever felt the need to ask that question actually gotten a reply with a definite timeline?

4 Hairdresser Chats

Again, I have no personal experiences with this. Even when I can’t find a bear to fight, I usually frequent the dankest barber shop in town, where my “stylist” clearly has given up on life and would rather end it than engage in conversation with me – just the way I like it.

3 Rescheduling after Refusing an Invitation to Go Drinking

Most people’s response when asked to join a group of people they loathe for drinks would be to suck air through their teeth and say, “Sorry, I have plans.” And just when you think you’re in the clear, the entire group decides to change the date just for you. This becomes doubly damning if the new date is when you actually have something planned and are forced to either cancel that engagement or begin to let the others on to the fact you don’t like them.

The foolproof method would be “sick relative that requires constant care” excuse. Of course in doing so, you run the risk of stirring up some bad mojo.

2 Clerk Arbitrarily Determines your Receipt is Unnecessary

This incident often occurs in the fast-paced retail world of convenience stores. I can perfectly understand where the clerks there are coming from as it’s highly unlikely someone needs a proof of purchase for a pack of Pocky.

So rather than force a useless slip of paper into your valuable pocket real-estate, they considerately just keep the receipt for themselves. However, when you work here and a pack of Pocky is a legitimate business expense, you have to go through the whole rigmarole of asking for the receipt yourself.

A lot of convenience stores work around this issue by providing a receipt bin at the counter for customers to toss it in if they don’t need it, but the problem still seems to persist for it to make number two on this ranking.

1 Being Escorted out of a Clothing Store After Purchasing Something

Although not as boisterous as the beauty salon farewell, clothing store staff will sometimes walk their customers to the exit as if the shop were some Byzantine labyrinth requiring a guide. Aside from being an unnecessary courtesy it seems a little bad from a sales standpoint since it bars the customer from making any subsequent impulse buys on their way out.

Gaijin Tips: “Eat all your rice in Japan”

Check out this Gaijin Tip from video/blogger kanadajin3, who is actually named Mira and is “a girl who moved from Toronto, Canada to Tokyo, Japan.”

Eat all your rice in Japan. Leaving food behind is rude esp if it is rice bits. When you scrape food off your rice cooker, you need to take everything, leaving little bits is ruder than leaving a lot. If you just can’t finish your food that you got at a restaurant then you can leave some behind, but try to finish everything at home and at your friends house.

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The remarkable art of giving and receiving change in Japan

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If you’re tired of receiving vacant smiles and flippant customer service at your local grocery store, you may want to make a trip to Japan, where the customer always comes first and every transaction is concluded with a graceful bow.

This remarkable attention to customer service even extends to the handling of cash transactions in shops around the country. Akin to an art form, a simple payment to a store clerk in Japan will inevitably set off a series of steps and precise movements to satisfy the needs of both parties and respectively complete the exchange. Come with us as we take you through the steps of a simple transaction in Japan. The attention to detail and the clever reasons for it will surprise you.

The easy-to-follow pictograph above was created by Twitter user @M_Shiroh, who was so impressed with the cashier’s skill on a recent trip to the supermarket that they decided to document the details of the exchange.

Next time you make a purchase in Japan, make note of the way the cashier handles your change. If they’re good at their craft, you’ll receive your money in the following order and with a sense of gravitas befitting royalty.

1. Counting your notes

In Japan, notes are adorned with portraits on one side. The cashier will hold out the notes with these portraits facing you and the notes will be parallel to a wall as opposed to the floor. Using two hands, the amount will be counted out verbally as they flick through each note.

2. Handing over your notes

The notes will then be handed to you in a neat stack with the largest one on the bottom. When you put them in your wallet, your notes will now be in order from lowest to highest, making it more convenient for you when it comes to paying for your next transaction.

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3. Handing over your coins and receipt

Next, the cashier will fold your receipt if it’s particularly long, and then place the coins neatly on top. By doing this, the receipt will protect the palm of your hand from coming into contact with any coins. You’ll then be able to slide the small change easily into your coin compartment and either return the receipt into the special box that’s often provided on the counter or slide it into your wallet. Cue graceful bow and you’re on your way!

Not only is this a wonderful way to treat the customer and ensure there are no mistakes or disputes, it’s also a great way to keep long queues moving quickly.

Why do most concerts held in Japan prohibit taking pictures?

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For anyone who enjoys live music, part of the fun is taking photos of the band or recording video to relive the experience at home or show off on Facebook. It’s a tradition that strengthens the connection between bands and their fans long after a concert is over. Especially in this digital age, many bands depend on the power of social media to connect with new audiences they could never reach before.

If you’ve ever attended a concert in Japan, you know this is not the case. You will almost always see “No photos” and “No video” signs posted all over concert venues. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching a foreign artist or a local one, you are not allowed to take pictures, and a host of security personal will remind you of the fact.

Find out why this is the case, and which big musical act might be turning the tide, after the jump.

Paul McCartney; One Direction; Taylor Swift; these are only some of the artists who have played or are scheduled to play big shows in Japan in 2015. The Asian market is huge, and the top musicians aren’t skipping out on Japan when they go on tour. Die-hard Japanese fans have noticed that footage and photos of concerts held outside of Japan are constantly being uploaded on Facebook and Twitter, even though fans in the Land of the Rising Sun have to settle for expensive DVDs to relive their concert experience at home.

Oddly, copyright infringement isn’t always the culprit here. If the video and audio recordings are only being reproduced for personal use, then the recording isn’t breaking any laws. The concerns generally lie elsewhere. In order to avoid chaos at a concert site, sponsors and venue executives can establish specific regulations.

And then avoid this…

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Even without using big, professional photographic equipment, fans holding handheld cameras or phones above their heads will block the field of vision of concert goers behind them. Plus, if there is a rush of people wanting to take pictures of the musicians, it can get very dangerous. For the concert sponsors and organizers, there is a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the fans.

But with more and more foreign artists playing shows in Japan, organizers are starting to take notice of what the fans want. There is a slow but steady movement of Japanese artists who are experimenting with allowing pictures and video to be taken at their concerts.

Japanese rock band Sekai no Owari is nonchalantly leading this charge as they allow their fans to take photos and recordings of their concerts.

Sekai no Owari

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It seems to be just a politeness factor in Japan, but with the growing number of smartphones and the advent of social media, this system might certainly change. In the future, you might be able to record a concert in Japan for your own viewing at a later date, and you can thank the music group with the clown in it. Be sure to remember to remember that.

Meet Sara Jane Ho, the woman teaching manners and etiquette to China’s elite

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Last month, we highlighted a short series by GQ titled The Bling Dynasty that covered China’s blossoming culture of the newly rich and the hurdles their society faces with so many instant millionaires and billionaires popping up everywhere.

One of those challenges has to do with knowing how to act rich. They are called tuhao, which roughly translates to “the rich but uncultured of China.”

Tuhao can buy luxury supercars, yachts, private jets and designer clothes like candy, but they struggle to pronounce anything in French, they don’t know how to use a fork and knife properly, how to dress fashionably or how to really spend their money, so they look to guidance from the continental culture that invented the highest form of class known — the West.

From the perspective of most Westerners (and GQ journalists), it’s almost too easy to poke fun at China’s newly rich and their peculiar idiosyncrasies, but there is a much larger context that most are either historically unaware of or unable to directly mention due to current politics.

China is one of the oldest civilizations this planet has ever seen, withstanding the test of time virtually unchanged for thousands of years. However, nearly a century ago, their imperial system had rotted from the inside out and was overthrown by a new regime. In 1949, the People’s Republic of China was established by an anti-imperialist named Mao Zedong. In 1966, he launched the Cultural Revolution, a 10-year counter-revolutionary movement that was marked by violent class struggle, street executions, labor camps, book burnings and the destruction of thousands of years’ worth of cultural treasures and knowledge. China’s old-world culture had essentially been erased, and the cult of Mao Zedong became the new school. This new culture started from nothing but proletarian struggle, and not until China’s open door policy and economic boom of the 1980s did their lack of old-world values become most apparent.

That’s where Sara Jane Ho comes in, but for business and marketing purposes, she’s simply known as Sara Jane. Educated on the American East Coast and polished at a Swiss finishing school, Ho founded the Institute Sarita, an etiquette school based in Beijing where she holds courses for China’s wealthy on how to fill the shell of elite status their newly found money has created for them.

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For about $15,000, wealthy Chinese, mostly women, take part in a 12-day course that consists of lessons like “Introduction to the Noble Sports,” “Pronunciation of Luxury Brands,” “British Afternoon Tea,” “Lingerie Lesson” and “Introduction to French Cuisine.”

We had the pleasure of interviewing Sara Jane over email, where she answered some questions about her clientele and how she is bringing old-world European class to modern China’s newly rich.

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Tell us about your background and how you ended up going to school in the U.S. and later to finishing school in Switzerland.

“I grew up in Hong Kong but felt constrained by the environment and schooling there, so as a teenager I left to attend boarding school at Phillips Exeter Academy. I felt that the States better suited my personality. I went on to Georgetown and after a stint of banking to HBS.

Some girl friends of mine had attended Swiss finishing school and I myself have always had a passion for hosting; I enjoy bringing people together and making new friends. The course at finishing school is on how to be a hostess: how to greet and take care of others, including table conversation, table seating, flower arrangement, deportment, gifting, afternoon tea, planning a menu, etc.”

What was the greatest challenge for you in growing Institute Sarita? What’s the most valuable lesson for business or dealing with people that you’ve learned since launching?

“A school is an old-fashioned business. I’m not a tech company that’s going to IPO in three years! I’m a brick and mortar kind of girl; I like laying the foundation and growing slowly but steadily. We currently have one school, in Beijing, and 80% of our clients fly from all over China just to take the course. We are very high end and a boutique, so scaling will be the greatest challenge in growing the business.

A mentor taught me that ‘in China, slow is fast.’ I decide and execute quickly – sometimes too quickly – but the highest realms of business are like taichi. Slow and deliberate. The Chinese way to deal with problems are to postpone them for as long as possible!”

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Do you feel there are facets of Chinese culture or history that may be responsible for China’s “lack” of modern etiquette?

“It’s important to remember that Chinese etiquette is thousands of years old. Confucius first taught us his values 2,600 years ago.

Recent history in China has led to some lost culture and values which we hope to bring back. Now that China is becoming an economic and political power on the global stage, Chinese need to better understand the rest of the world and let the world better understand China.

It’s also important to remember that no other country has gone through so much change in so short a time. We need to be patient.”

Do you think your courses allow your clients to “buy” class? What kind of mindset do you want your students to take away from your classes?

“Chinese are adopting a higher measure of quality of life. They have deeper desires, hold themselves to higher standards, and want to earn the respect of others – these are all indicators of social progress. My course is not for people to ‘buy’ class; etiquette is about how to put people around you at ease.”

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Do you believe successful people today exercise the amount of propriety you teach your students?

“Not necessarily! Career success does not necessarily mean one has good manners! Although manners and high EQ do help one’s career.”

Is there a single most “bad habit” you find yourself having to correct with your clients? What other behaviors perturb you the most?

“My students are actually very sophisticated and considerate individuals. I believe this is the biggest misconception of them. We are not a basic etiquette school, but rather an elegant finishing school. Princess Diana went to Swiss finishing school not to learn not to spit, but how to be a hostess and take care of others. There is no ‘bad habit’ or behavior that ‘perturbs’ me.”

It seems you teach etiquette to only female clients. What about men? Can you list off some things you think men in Chinese culture should change to follow proper etiquette?

“We have a men’s course but our specialty courses are for ladies: debutante for unmarried women and hostess for married women. If you look at finishing schools and charm schools in Switzerland or the USA, it is traditionally for women. I think all men all over the world could benefit from attending etiquette school!”

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Can you tell us about your passions outside of the world of business and etiquette?

“I have begun collecting contemporary Chinese art and am a young patron of the Ullens Centre of Contemporary Arts in Beijing.

I am also a competitive horse rider in Beijing’s show jumping circuit and competed in the Longines Masters in the National Olympic Stadium (Bird’s Nest) last year.

I find that spending time up close and personal with my horse renews my sense of wonder. When work gets busy with my school or social events, I simplify my life by spending time in nature with my horse. Riding is so old fashioned and there is a charm about it. I love the smell of the stables – it calms me and I am reminded of my childhood.”

Do you have plans to develop Institute Sarita further and expand?

“In May 2015, we will launch our second school, which will be in Shanghai. It is in a beautiful old villa in the French Concession and I am going through the plans with my designer right now. It will be a similar set-up to Beijing, with a concept store attached to the institute. So I am looking for cool products overseas to bring to the Chinese market!”

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12 tales of true hospitality from Japanese hotels and inns

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Japan takes customer service very seriously, something that’s easy to see when even convenience store clerks are so dedicated to their job they’ll ask if you want your hot and cold purchases bagged separately, or else build a protective barrier between them. Hospitality standards are no joke, either, as illustrated by the tasks traditional innkeepers are expected to perform, such as carrying the dishes and utensils for full-course meals into and out of guests’ rooms.

It’s no surprise, then, that travelers in Japan have plenty of stories to tell about attentive inns and hotels, such as the 12 below from an online survey by web portal My Navi Woman in Japan.

One woman recalled the impressive service she received while she was in the midst of taking college entrance exams. Many schools have their own proprietary test, which must be taken at the campus. If an applicant is taking multiple exams in the same city over a period of days, it’s often easier to simply book a hotel for the duration rather than waste precious studying time going back and forth between home and the test sites, which is just what this woman did.

The staff of her hotel picked up on the reason for her prolonged stay, and seeing how hard the young lady was working, decided to give her a couple packs of Kit Kats. Ordinarily, free candy in and of itself is something to be happy about, but there was a reason for the specific brand. The Japanese pronunciation of the popular chocolate sticks sounds similar to kitto katsu, or “I believe you will succeed.”

Kit Kat are a popular good luck charm for college applicants to carry with them on test day, and the woman was moved by the sweet sentiment shown by the hoteliers.

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Guests on more leisure-focused trips got special treatment, too, such as the woman who stayed at one of the Tokyo Disney Resort Hotels to celebrate her birthday. On her special day the woman went out to enjoy herself in the park, and later that night when she returned to her room she found a signed birthday greeting from The Little Mermaid’s Ariel waiting for her on her bed.

▼ A gesture all the more touching when you realize how hard not having legs must have made it for her to place the card there

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There was also a special surprise waiting in the room of a pair of travelers who spent their wedding night in the same hotel where they’d just had their ceremony. Japanese wedding receptions can be extremely busy affairs, with multiple speeches from the bride and groom themselves, as well as their bosses, colleagues, and other well-wishers. Sometimes the couple themselves don’t have time to eat, so when the newlyweds said goodbye to their guests and arrived at their room, they were happy to find a cake and selection of fruit laid out by the hotel staff, just for the two of them.

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Not all hotel guests are embarking on a new beginning, though, such as the two women who took a trip together celebrating their 20 years of friendship. After the two mentioned this to the staff of their inn as they checked in, the staff took it upon themselves to snap commemorative pictures of the two throughout their stay.

True hospitality means being there for your guests at bad times as well as good, though, which was the case with one 24-year-old woman. During her trip the zipper jammed on her makeup pouch, and unable to get at its contents, she made the difficult decision to cut the bag open. Not having brought scissors with her from home, she tearfully walked to the front desk to borrow a pair, where the clerk asked her what had her so shaken up. After she explained the situation, the clerk asked the woman to show him the fastener, which he then proceeded to unjam for her.

▼ As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to try asking for help first before jumping to the solution of “cut stuff into pieces.”

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Another Japanese inn got high marks for crisis management from a woman who stayed there with a friend whose travelling companion had come down with a bad stomach-ache. In general, Japanese inns serve a course meal with the individual ingredients chosen by the chef, whose advanced culinary sense is assumed to make him even better at making the selections than the diners themselves. When the woman said her friend wasn’t feeling well, though, the hotel staff instead made her a bowl of the rice porridge known as okayu, a typical food given to people suffering from stomach pain or the flu in Japan.

▼ We hope they also gave her a break on her bill, too, considering how inexpensive okayu is to make.

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In fact, several respondents’ stories centered around food and drinks, such as that of the 33-year-old woman who made a dinner reservation at a hotel restaurant to mark her father’s retirement. Although she hadn’t mentioned anything to the restaurant staff, they overheard the family talking about the special occasion, and without being asked, brought out a cake and bottle of wine to add to the celebration.

▼ Even better than free Kit Kat

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Ordinary meals won praise from travelers, too. Despite sashimi being a widely loved food in Japan, not everyone in the country loves raw fish, including a 25-year-old woman who asked if her inn could cook the portion that came with her breakfast. Not only did the chef comply, the guest was served the same cooked fish on the second morning of her stay, as well.

▼ How anyone could say no to this is beyond us, but to each her own.

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Many Western-style hotels in Japan are popular for serving afternoon tea and the assorted light fare that goes with it, such as cucumber and egg sandwiches. One 34-year-old woman doesn’t care for the crunchy green vegetables, however, and asked the hotel wait staff to hold the cucumbers on hers. Far too hospitable to serve up a lowly egg-only sandwich, they did her one better by instead substituting eggplant and the pumpkin-like squash called kabocha.

▼ This could have backfired terribly if the woman happened to also hate kabocha, but seeing as how she mentioned the hotel on a survey about great customer service, we’re guessing that wasn’t the case.

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Even drinks without any accompanying food can brighten a traveler’s journey. In Japan, travelling by train often means a walk from the nearest station to your lodgings, which means exposing yourself to the elements. One grateful woman arrived at the check-in counter sopping wet from the rain. After showing her to her room, the clerk reappeared moments later with a warming cup of tea. A summertime traveler had a similar experience when as she checked out, the clerk presented her with a bottle of chilled green tea to keep herself hydrated with during the humid afternoon.

▼ Tea, the drink for all seasons

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More than anything else, it was these small bits of kindness that resonated with guests more than anything else. Best illustrating this was a 38-year-old woman who annually takes a trip and stays in the same hotel. Whenever she arrives, she finds some candy and a letter from the staff in her room, thanking her for always choosing to stay with them.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not such a big deal, and it’s unlikely the hotel has to spend more than five minutes for the whole thing. Even still, showing that they remember the woman, and making her feel like the hotel is her home away from home, is what keeps her coming back year after year.

Source: Ameba News

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12 tales of true hospitality from Japanese hotels and inns

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China introduces first ever tourism law and Guidebook Of Civilized Tourism

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On October 1st 2013, China laid down a 112 page article law for tourists – familiarizing them with etiquette, tourist safety, and unfair competition when traveling abroad.

Back in September, China’s National Tourism Administration also publicized a 64-page “Guidebook of Civilized Tourism” to help set the tone.

Some topics covered in the guidebook range from reminding tourists to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, while other aspects tackle cultural considerations such as not giving someone a handkerchief in Italy. Apparently, it’s considered an omen for wiping tears when you lose someone.

In Korea, you’re warned not to pick up your chopsticks before your senior… and of course, to always face sideways when drinking alcoholic beverages.

Who knew there were so many cultural rules to learn and so many sideways glances to give while downing a beer!

Check out this link: