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Blogger lists three things foreigners do that impress the Japanese

67 Comments
By Evie Lund, RocketNews24

One of the first things you notice when you visit Japan is how nice and polite everyone seems to be. Shop staff bow to you, people greet you in the hotel lobby, even the guy at the "combini" sprints across the store to open up the second register when there’s more than one person waiting to be served.

But spend any prolonged amount of time here and you’ll realise that there are plenty of rude people here too (just like in the rest of the world…). And there are even a few niceties we in the West generally perform as a matter of habit that just aren’t part of the Japanese way of doing things.

So just how are Westerners unintentionally schooling the Japanese in manners?

According to controversial blogger Madame Riri, who often has something to say about foreigners in Japan in general, there are three things that foreigners (for the sake of argument, let’s say Westerners, since that’s who Riri is really talking about here) do that make us even more polite than the Japanese. As always, we should take Madame Riri’s words with a pinch of salt, but she might be on to something this time…

1. Foreigners hold doors open for strangers, Japanese don’t

It’s true that people generally don’t hold doors open for strangers here. It’s not like they let them slam in anyone’s face or anything like that, but there isn’t such a culture of door-holding being a way to show politeness. Often, in the Western world, we’ll hold doors open for people who aren’t actually anywhere near the door yet. This gesture is unmistakably kind, but can also lead to awkward situations where people feel obliged to trot towards a door so as not to further inconvenience the benevolent soul is holding open for them – it’s all terribly embarrassing, especially if you’re British and wired that way. Still, because my parents raised me to be hyper-vigilant about manners and stuff, I hold doors for people here in Japan. (It’s more of a reflex, and I really can’t help it.) I’m usually met with a grateful, but slightly bemused smile.

Madame Riri claims that the reason Westerners have this odd door-holding culture is because we consider it the height of rudeness to let a door close on someone who is in our vicinity. She might have something there…

2. Foreigners say “thank you” to shop staff, Japanese people don’t

Another thing you may quickly come to notice upon visiting Japan is just how few customers acknowledge convenience store staff at the register. This actually isn’t considered all that rude in Japan – the staff aren’t expecting a “thank you”, they’re just doing their job, and part of it is to greet (usually in a very loud voice) and be unbearably polite at all times. But in the UK, the thought of not saying “thank you” to a cashier fills me with cold dread. In fact, I advise you to never forget your “thank you” in the UK (or a simple ‘cheers’ if you’re not feeling especially vocal), otherwise the shop staff are likely to look at you with disgust and question whether you were raised by wolves the second you’re out the door.

Strangely considering how much effort they put into greetings and thank-yous, small-talk with shop staff isn’t really a thing in Japan. In my homeland, you can often expect a brief back-and-forth about the weather and a “see you later” at the end of the transaction, even if you’ve never seen the person before in your life and are likely to never see them again, so I feel compelled to at least say thank you to shop staff here in Japan. I usually get a surprised smile in return, which I suppose is a good enough reason to keep doing it.

Riri claims that the reason people in Japan often don’t offer a single word of thanks to shop staff is because, unlike the English phrase “thank you” which is quite snappy and can be fired off easily, “arigatou gozaimasu” is a bit of a mouthful. It’s purely for the sake of brevity, she suggests, that thanking shop staff isn’t a custom in Japan. Hmm…

3. Foreigners help out people with baby strollers, Japanese don’t

It’s true that you’re likely to see strangers helping people with baby strollers up and down train station steps back home in the U.S. and the UK. In fact, what kind of monster would just walk past someone struggling with a baby and a bulky buggy? But in Japan, you don’t really see this. Since taking trains is such an integrated part of Japanese lifestyle, lots of parents carry their babies in pouches while they’re still small to avoid having to struggle with a stroller. And Japanese stations are also quite accessible, with plentiful elevator access to platforms. Riri concedes that it’s not unheard of for a kindly Japanese salaryman to help carry a lady’s luggage up the platform steps but in general this seems to be something that happens much more often in Western countries.

Of course, this is all generalising, and there are probably people in Japan who do all of these things, and plenty of monsters in the West who don’t bother with any of them. Lots of Riri’s readers seem to agree with her, though, with one claiming: “Japanese people tend to mind their own business and keep to themselves a lot more in public than foreigners do, especially in crowded cities.” Another stated: “This is just a difference in culture and customs, not levels of politeness.”

Source: Madame Riri

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Nine reasons why Japanese men hesitate to say “I love you” -- 4 Japanese beauty fads that Westerners just don’t understand -- Don’t like drinking with the boss? No Promotion For You

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I think another reason for this is that in Japan there is really no such thing as a gratuitous gesture. Every courtesy is basically seen as an obligation that should be returned at some point. So avoiding these social situations is a way of never having to repay them, or alternatively, not saddling other people with that burden. I've known a few Japanese people who have become very annoyed when someone has tried to do something nice for them because they now have to spend their time or money returning the unsolicited favour in some way. Of course you will probably never have to repay a stranger who holds a door for you, but I think this way of thinking is very engrained into people's psyches.

26 ( +27 / -1 )

Guilty of all three...

As for “arigatou gozaimasu” - How about a simple "Domo" ?

20 ( +20 / -0 )

There's real polite, and there's fake polite.

Real politeness is based on a genuine concern for the other person.

Fake politeness is a genuine worry about how others think about you.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

I thought the achievements might be a little more challenging, like speak the language, assimilate into a community etc, but so be it.

Riri claims that the reason people in Japan often don’t offer a single word of thanks to shop staff is because, unlike the English phrase “thank you” which is quite snappy and can be fired off easily, “arigatou gozaimasu” is a bit of a mouthful. It’s purely for the sake of brevity, she suggests, that thanking shop staff isn’t a custom in Japan. Hmm…

this always bothers me, and my wife is guilty as well. Japanese tend to treat shop staff and waiters almost with contempt.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

The writer's confusing formality with politeness.

Japanese are very formal, but they are not very polite.

Formality is how the shop assistant treats the customer. Politeness is how the customer treats the shop assistant.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

katsu78 - I agree that this failure to say "thank you" is probably a big city thing. I live in a more rural area and I very rarely see someone fail to thank the cashier at the combini. Sometimes it isn't terribly sincere, just an over-the-shoulder "domo" as they dash out the door, but it is rare to see someone fail to do so.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Riri claims that the reason people in Japan often don’t offer a single word of thanks to shop staff is because, unlike the English phrase “thank you” which is quite snappy and can be fired off easily, “arigatou gozaimasu” is a bit of a mouthful. It’s purely for the sake of brevity, she suggests, that thanking shop staff isn’t a custom in Japan. Hmm…

Sorry Riri, that's rubbish. I thank cashiers with "arigatou gozaimasu" in Japan, and they thank me. Yes, that's nine syllables, but the thing is we humans with our adept tongues and mouths are quite able to cope in a negligible amount of time. Not a single person in this country is so busy they can't spare the 0.87 seconds it took me to just say the words.

Personally, at least in Tokyo I suspect the real reason has more to do with the way I see everyone constantly going through mental backflips to try and pretend that the 13 million people crammed in around them magically don't exist. It seems to me to be an outgrowth of the same culture that says if you're elderly you don't have to stand in line or if you're tired on the train you can just sleep on the shoulder of whoever's sitting next to you. If you're a clerk, you have an obligation to be dutiful to the customer. If you're a customer, you have no obligation so the clerk is just an irrelevant meatbox to distract you from your walking daydream.

11 ( +10 / -0 )

@CGB

"I only hold the door open when I see somebody behind me walking to the door...."

No offence, but you'd be a total nutter if you held the door open otherwise.... ; )

11 ( +12 / -1 )

When my family and I lived in Miyazaki we were preparing for a huge typhoon in Sept 2009. I covered our windows with plywood and notcied the old folk next door didn't have shutters or plywood. I went back to Kahma Home and bought five sheets for their windows. The old man freaked out. The old woman came out to see what the commotion was about and she got angry when I explained I simply wanted to help them out.

When the old man died, my wife and I bought some food for the woman and offered it to her and she slammed the door in our faces. Nobody we noticed had gone next door to visit when the old man was brought home before the ceremony and the old woman rode in the car to the ceremony hall. She and her sister were the only people at the ceremony and both seemed peeved my wife and I went and gave 20,000 yen at the table. The next day she had returned the money in our postal box.

On the other hand our other neighbors in the area were quite close. I hate to rain on parades but individuals act in each situation and not generalized ideas of stereotypes. Our neighbors and we in Nagoya are also quite close as a community. Some people just don't like to be bothered with community and others appreciate the support community offers.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I think that generally, Japanese are polite to strangers if they are being paid to do so. Otherwise, not so much. My mother always told me "good manners cost nothing."

9 ( +11 / -2 )

@fightinviking - domo - the go to phrase in my Japanese and American family.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

When I first started offering my seat on the train, it took me a while to realize that many people initially refuse out of "politeness". I'm not talking about the "No thank you, I'm getting off at the next stop" excuse, but the whole back and forth thing for those who want your seat, but don't want to appear rude.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Fake politeness** i see this all the time. some of the J companies staff i deal with are very friendly during business hrs,and my kids daycare teachers. if you see them (and they see you) at the supermarket or park etc theyll go out of there way to avoid bumping into you. in all fairness there are a couple of them that i bump into outside of work that are still generally friendly no matter where you see them. the majority arnt.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Being nice, holding doors open, saying thank you to employees is very easy and almost always appears to be appreciated. The Japanese may have their hierarchy, but they are also well aware that they are human beings, and appreciate being treated with respect. Just be nice; it can't hurt you.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

You know the "golden rule" as applied to Japan (and other East Asian countries) is reversed: Do NOT do unto others as you would NOT have them do unto you. The result is passivity.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Like the writer said, it's all just generalizing. Not a story, just a what we in the journalism business used to call a filler, otherwise known as a waste of space.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yubaru - yes generalizations - but after 2 decades here I can confirm from my limited daily experiences, #1 & #2 are rare to witness in my region.

People as a custom rarely offer greetings or thanks in a shop / customer situation. I do as a matter of course and always get a reply, or a smile or on occasions a 5 sec chat. My feeling (but I don't know) is that they enjoy the recognition of being human.

And re holding doors open - it happens more now than it used to, but still the majority in my experience don't. I don't care either way but I always do hold doors open and am met with a little thankful surprise. Usually!

Sometimes it's the simple non-obligatory gestures towards others that creates a bit of warmth.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I say 'Thank You' to people serving me, I hold doors open for others, I offer to help others with heavy loads. I often offer my seat on the train to others who look as if they need it more. I get surprise and embarrassment sometimes, but most people seem pleased.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sounds about right M3. What used to shock me was the aberration to asking or helping your neighbors, especially when it comes to money. "Hey my neighbor has lots of land, why don't I pay him for a parking spot?" No way. I wanted to help out an elderly lady after a storm, and family help move, but it's just not done. Pay some one, and avoid any of it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Proud to say I did all three, on numerous occasions, when I was in Japan. Also gave up my seat on the subway many times as well.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Another custom you don't see in Japan is letting someone out of the lift/elevator in front of you (as in ladies first). They always seem a little surprised when I do that.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Foreigners say “thank you” to shop staff, Japanese people don’t

This is because in Japan, status is paramount. Work for a zaibatsu, make sure you tell everyone about it. Become the boss, expect everyone to kiss your feet. In the same vein, "I am salaryman & you work at a combini". It's purely a status thing.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Gary Raynor got it right. These 3 points are nothing but simple politeness, taught from a young age to us. A little respect and politeness will get you further than forced formality in my opinion, and it doesn't even cost a calorie to perform it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Madame Riri Really needs to get out and about more and stop generalizing.

In my city, in which the foreign residents are such a small minority I'm quite sure we haven't had any significant effect on the locals' manners.

1 I often see people holding doors and elevator doors for women and old folks to go through first. Also see people who have gone through a door check to see if anyone is following, and if so, wait a few seconds holding the door open a crack so the next person doesn't need to use as much strength to open it. 2 People here more often than not thank all sorts of shop clerks, restaurant workers, bus drivers, etc. 3 Don't see people with baby strollers for a good portion of the year due to the snow and in the other seasons seldom see them in a situation where they could use help, so can't say.
4 ( +4 / -0 )

I always use the casual form of "Domo" when thanking staff, I believe Japanese rarely thank staff because they simply believe the staff is there to serve, Foreigners put the human element back in a form of communication exchange which is sorely lacking in Japan. Generally speaking communicating isnt something Japanese consider necessary. Foreigners prefer a warmer approach.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There is one building attached to our station that I often go through, which has high traffic flow and extremely heavy doors that slam right closed. I am always very careful to make sure no one is behind me, and in reverse never try to go right after someone because the door will for sure slam in my face. In this case I can really understand where the culture came from, because letting a door slam like that on someone is just mean. IMHO

I tried to break my 'culturally inappropriate' habit of always saying 'thank you', but I don't think anyone minds, so I continue to do it.

Obligation is a tricky thing to really understand as an outsider in Japan. Things like these are habits to many westerners , they are not things that need any more than a 'thanks' as 'payback'

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I often hear shop staff complaining about behaviors of the customers, and vice versa. I always wonder why they can't be more considerate with each other, instead of speaking ill of others behind their back!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Whenever I eat sushi or yakitori with my boy, the way he talks to the staff makes me cringe. But, as he says, if he continually uses "please" and "thank you", like I do, he'll make everyone feel uncomfortable. I suppose this is one case where the old "cultural differences" excuse is valid....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Fox Sora Winters

I agree with you. I also think supermarket (and pharmacy) cashiers are a special case. They can gather alot of intimate details about people's lives based on the type of food they buy. I certainly don't want to be on such good terms with my cashier that they say 'oh, what's with all the frozen food lately? Did your wife leave you again?'

2 ( +3 / -1 )

you've escalated a discussion on a simple ackowledgement of existence through a friendly greeting - hello - to an invasion of privacy - or so it seems.

You are mistaken. I have no issues with polite greetings/farewells, but that's all that is really necessary at the tills. That, and "thank you". What I have a problem with is the colleagues who ask you about your dinner plans, your plans for the evening, your plans for the weekend, your plans for the holiday season, that sort of thing, then there's comments and questions regarding the food/drinks you've bought (Christ, you buy more than half a litre of alcohol and suddenly they start asking if you're throwing a party, as if they've never heard of moderation before), about any books/CDs/DVDs you've bought, any games you've bought (video or board), any clothes or DIY products or healthcare products, and many more. Most colleagues in the West will mention at least four of these topics, while some will try to mention all of them. So what exactly is non-invasive about asking a customer if they're on a diet? That's a pretty personal topic to bring up, and they do it without any tact. So it should come as no surprise that things like medicines, condoms, pregnancy tests and feminine hygiene products tend to go through self-service checkouts instead, given the intrusive nature of Western colleagues. That's what I have an issue with, and I'm sure M3M3M3 is the same.

From the sounds of things, I won't have to worry about that in Japan, thank God.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cripes....Stereotypes AGAIN! I have witnessed all three things being done by Japanese folks on more that one occasion and where I work Japanese hold the door open for everyone, foreign or domestic.

Quit with the crap PLEASE.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I always say "Domo" to shop stuff but I must admit it sounds a little ignorant. I know some Japanese who say Domo or even Domo Arigatou to shop staff. I only hold the door open when I see somebody behind me walking to the door. A few days ago my neighbor held the entry door open for me. So there are exceptions.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I say 'domo' at the shops as often as not. And I always make my kids say thank you at any shop. One of the things I'm worried about is that my children will grow up with a sense of entitlement and privilege due to being raised with money. So I always try to teach them that we are not better than anyone because we have money, we are just more fortunate to be in the circumstance that we have money. So everyone deserves to be treated with respect until they show that they don't deserve to be treated that way. Saying thank you to shop staff is part of this lesson.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Browny....maybe it's a regional thing as you say, who knows, but generalizations do no good for the casual reader who may take this as "fact".

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I've known a few Japanese people who have become very annoyed when someone has tried to do something nice for them because they now have to spend their time or money returning the unsolicited favour

yeah never understood the need for the bride/groom to give a return gift to those gave you a wedding gift/money. didnt we just invite you too our massively expensive wedding, which far exceeds the cost of your gifts (many of which wed never use)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@MapleG

Another custom you don't see in Japan is letting someone out of the lift/elevator in front of you (as in ladies first)

Sorry ! Guilty of that too...- (I even know which buttons to push to keep the doors open !) ;)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Clean up own trash after attending event"

It's because most public venues and spaces in Japan don't have litter bins. So for the punters, it's a choice of hauling home garbage or dumping it in the woods. Neither option is good, in my opinion.

The problem is the roughly 10% of people who do the latter, which explains why lots of BBQ areas, beaches, hiking areas, etc. are strewn with garbage. Yeah, great policy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Foreigners say “thank you” to shop staff, Japanese people don’t

Ha?? I might be wrong, but this might be a Tokyo thing. In Kansai people definitely thank shop staff. OK, not everybody, but not a minority.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

it looks a bit rude when my neighbour passes in front of me looking very straight no greetings no eye contact. look man we have a relation, the relation of humanity so please say hello at least it will give a nice feeling to both you and me

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As someone who works in a supermarket (as a cashier no less) a lack of small talk is something I'm thankful for really. Hello, thank you, bye... that's basically all that needs to be said. We're in a supermarket after all, not a social club. When it's my turn to be a customer, I get uncomfortable with cashiers prying into my life, asking about dinner plans/holiday plans etc. Especially as some cashiers can be quite intrusive about it, and I know plenty of customers who also dislike an excess of small talk. Not saying "thank you" is quite common for me, though mostly that's just the locals being iffy with me (I'm English, they're Welsh, they don't like the fact that I don't speak Welsh, I don't speak Welsh because I'm sick to death of the Anglophobic abuse I've had hurled at me on a regular basis for the last 3 years. Go figure). I have to say though, saying "thank you" at the tills is more common in rural and sub-urban areas in the West than in the cities. In urban areas, people tend to be more impatient, always in a rush, and skip the "thank you". And yes, we absolutely judge you for that.

Holding doors open is not something I often encounter in Britain. I hold doors open more often than I've had them held open for me, but I don't always hold doors open. Mostly that's because I daydream a lot so I tend not to notice anything around me. Mostly it's the elderly or the disabled who get doors held open for them, from what I've observed at least. Again, this could be something that differs by region.

I have to say it's surprising to hear that the Japanese don't often do these things, given Japan's reputation for politeness.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Traditional Japanese doors slide. You have to look back to close it, so they don't slam that closed if you are near or approaching.

Swinging doors they seem to go out of their way to make sure you do not get in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fox, I agree with you! I love Japanese cashiers, specially in supermarkets: "Hello. Do you have a point card? Would you like chopsticks/spoon? Total is ####." And I always, always give them a "domo." When I go to the states on visits it always freaks me out how much the cashiers want to talk at times. I went to the market to buy food, not to tell a stranger about my day/family/holidays!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I encounter a lot of Japanese (and Koreans and Chinese) here in Cali, and it has been my experience that they say "Thank You," hold doors open for strangers, and help people with baby strollers as much as, or even more than, anyone else, so I am surprised to read that these customs do not extend to Japan. I never would have guessed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A few years ago I was in Machida and asked an elderly man on the street to direct me to the library. The poor man did not know enough English to give me directions and after some hesitation he just signaled me to follow him and walked all the way to the library and then went his way. I love Japanese people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@clamenza

Agree completely. As I said, I'm sure he's a nice guy. But sunglasses definitely scare some people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When my friend came to visit me in Himeji. He remarks about the lack of respect shop and restaurant staff got. It's also like they are decorations. I agree. In the UK, the only rude and the stupid behave in such a way.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If someone offers me a seat on the train when I'm 70 Ill start doing chin ups right then and there

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@John-san

No. The Samurai were the highest class, then the peasants, then the artisans, then the merchants. It's Japanese history, not rocket science.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No. The Samurai were the highest class,

So you are saying that the samurai were higher than the Emperor? Right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I always thank the staff.

As for small talk often get that, today a combining girl asked me where I am from and also asked how to say 'Thank You' in my native tongue.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Ali

No sunglasses? I will give you the key to my house. And my daughter's hand in marriage....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was told a saying by a Osaka man and I use it all the time. I always get a smile and attention. Maybe it got to do with the delivery. But I use the same delivery with a smile when I say arigato gozaimasu or domo I still get a nice response but not the same if I use the Osaka saying.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The other day I gave the conbini staff a printed copy of a funny exchange between a conbini staff and a dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks customer asking for cigarettes repeatedly without specifying which brand he wanted, they loved it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

luca - Im pretty sure Ali isn't parading around in a puchperm while waving a 4 digit hand. Could be his neighbour is just a jackass

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yup I did all 3 as well when I was in Tokyo last year, although helping mothers with stuff tended to freak them out a bit so I stopped doing that one! The funniest was in my local Lawson. I was in there almost everyday. After every purchase I always said thank you to the Chinese staff. At first they just stared at me as though I was an alien but one day the woman employee was coughing so I asked if she was alright and she was shocked that i even asked lol. After that all the staff began to lighten up and say hello to me when I went in. In the 6 months I went in I was the only one saying thank you. Like the poster, I'm from the UK so it's just engrained in me. Personally i found it very fun thanking konbini staff. In one 7/11 I said "sugoi service" (it was!) and the man almost wet his pants hehe!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fox - thanks for your run down on the state of affairs in Wales. Sounds stressful.

However,I'm not mistaken, as the the point of the discussion I believe, was about customers here in Japan rarely acknowledging staff with even a simple hello or thankyou.

If you witness it daily as I and many others do, you'll soon understand the situation. The chances of being nagged / questioned to death here, is so remote that people would collapse with shock.

That's the point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan has had a hierarchy system for millennium. So for centuries in general life the farmers were the lowest class next came the merchants next came the Samuri next is the lords and emperor. But this system hold no value in the Onsen, Where everyone is considered the same. So the Japanese are not being rude when you notice these difference. It is in there culture and a formality. like foreigner opening doors and saying thank you, they are not going out of the way to do these gestures to be nice, it is just a formality. I can show a example, often you see foreigners travelling with their bag on the excoriators or on the righthand side. They don,t do this in their own countries so they do not realise that it is rude. As for helping people. I was stand out the front of Excal plaze Goryu ski centre when a man in a wheel chair was carrying his ski cart across his chair into a elevator with no help from the staff. I went over and told him to go and get ready and I will meet him up top on the the edge of the snow so you just have to hop on. I ask him, do you usually carry your ski cart up then go back down to move your car and get ready with any staff help and he told me yes. I ask him why. He said because he does not like asking but they will help me if I ask. Another formal trail of the Japanese is to not to bother people with the offer of help unless asked which they will do without any hesitation and happy to do so.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Madame Riri forgot this one:

Ask the conbini staff to put something in the 220 yen sandwich that has virtually nothing in it but a slice of ham and a slice of processed cheese.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@John-San

Under the Japanese hierarchical system, the farmers (peasants) ranked second, after the samurai. Craftsmen were third and merchants at the bottom. Not a bad way of structuring society, all things considered.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Ali

But, do you wear sunglasses all the time, like in your picture? That would put me off talking to you if I were your neighbour.

Sunglasses are a bit creepy....

lucabrasi - I don't see whats creepy about someone protecting their eyes. Probably says more about you being easily intimidated. Its hardly creepy and not on a par with, say, bathing with your grown children.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Ali, clamenza

Not being able to see someone's eyes induces a feeling of unease. That's been proven objectively. And in Japan, of course, there are sinister associations with sunglasses, punch perms and missing fingertips.

I'm sure Ali is a great bloke, but shades can equal trouble in some folks' minds....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

1 Mostly agree. 2 Not so sure I agree. 3 Totally agree.
-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Now what are things that impress foreigners about Japanese people?

Clean up own trash after attending event
-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@Ali

But, do you wear sunglasses all the time, like in your picture? That would put me off talking to you if I were your neighbour.

Sunglasses are a bit creepy....

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Fox & M3 - you've escalated a discussion on a simple ackowledgement of existence through a friendly greeting - hello - to an invasion of privacy - or so it seems.

I'm sorry if you really have to encounter such intrusions daily.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

1)Holding doors in europe is a gentleman thing for men, you want pussy and want to be regarded as a gentleman, so you hold doors with the reasoning of winning status for women and second only as being polite to elder peeps, children, ex . .. .. Japanese man dont hold doors for women because they are superior to women anyway, so theres no meaning of being polite or gentleman to women. Until 1945 japanese men were getting women like they wished and had no culture to actually need to do anything nice for to women. Women had no rights and were just regarded as baby and sex machines. No japanese man had to prove his status to a women, so no holding doors either . . . . I know its different now, thats why so many j men dont find wifes anymore.

2) No Thankyou

The service culture in japan is regarded as service providers, not as fellow humans. Again look at how japanese man talk to restaurant or shop staff, especially women staff. Its disrespect full and always has the feel of the the staffer having done something wrong. In good old japan working women were regarded as wannabes and didn`t deserve respect. Men work non stop, hard so they not need to be polite when shopping the single shitty day they have in their miserable life.

3) Baby Strollers. Thats the biggest LOL, of course no men touches a baby, they even dont touch their own an see them as a by product of marriage. Man are hardworking samurais, without emotions, dont bring babies or young children near them, because they are either issogashii or drunk.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I have to say I find the Japanese to be unimaginative, if not rude when being customers. Many people, especially the oyaji, believe they are like a mini-tenno when shopping even the smallest, cheapest thing. That generation is from the "bubble" ages when customers really were king. Some examples of unfriendly (and downright boring gestures) might include: not holding out you hand enough when receiving goods/change, somehow expecting staff to bend over (literally) to give your stuff to you. Not saying hello. Not saying thank you. Going into a tantrum when things are not done the way they'd like.

I, too used to subscribe to the idea that Japnese customer service was good, buy I'd take the grumpiness/genuine friendliness at home any day over these constant displays of fakeness. A customer who acted like this in any other country would soon be set straight, something I hope the islanders quickly realize when they take the plunge and step outside into thebig, scary world around them.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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