A fast food delivery guy gave me 10 yen and it made my day


After living here for any decent length of time, it’s easy to grow tired of the seemingly endless slew of blogs either singing Japan’s praises or celebrating its weirdness. But the thing is, there’s a reason so many of them exist. While many of the claims bloggers in Japan make are somewhat exaggerated or simply rehashes of the same experiences foreigners arriving in the country decades earlier had, there are nevertheless times when living in Japan can make you realise that the country is actually quite special.

The other night, for example, I found myself the recipient of a tiny but powerful gesture that made me feel – after more than eight years of living here – that Japan is pretty damn cool sometimes.

A fast food company gave me 10 yen.

Picture the scene: it’s a Sunday night, you’ve spent the best part of the day hiding away from the summer heat by playing video games and watching TV in your air-conditioned living room, and it’s only when your stomach starts to growl at around 6:30 p.m. that you realise there’s nothing in the fridge besides two cloves of garlic, a lonely looking egg and half a jug of water. What do you do?

After weighing up the options (yet another convenience store ready meal, making a trip to the supermarket, or having something delivered), I decided to take advantage of my local MOS Burger‘s delivery service, convincing myself that since all their food is made to order and uses good-quality ingredients, hamburgers for dinner would be fractionally healthier than dialling for a pizza, not to mention require far less effort than going grocery shopping.

Checking out their website, I noticed that there was no online order form. That meant I’d have to call and speak to an actual human being if I wanted food to arrive at my door. There would also be a 200-yen delivery fee, but after considering that, compared to the likes of sushi or pizza, a couple of burgers and orders of fries probably doesn’t make the store that much money to begin with, that seemed fair.

Thirty minutes later, a guy dressed in green arrived at my door and produced a brown paper bag from his special stay-snug satchel. Using the kind of polite Japanese that always leaves my slang-addled brain fried, he thanked me for my order, handed me my food and then, almost with a hint of embarrassment, informed me of how much it came to.

After paying him and receiving my change, however, the man then took a tiny white paper envelope from his jacket pocket and presented it to me with both hands, as if handing over a business card at a meeting.

“Thank you for calling us,” he said. “It’s only a small amount, but please accept this towards the cost of the phone call.” He then made a sort of half-bow, excused himself and disappeared back into the night.

Resisting the temptation to immediately tear into my bag of food and get back to being lazy, I inspected the little envelop the delivery guy had given me. Along with a cartoon image of a hamburger doffing his bun like a hat, written on the front was the message “itsumo go riyo arigato gozaimsu“, which roughly translates as “thank you for your continued patronage”. Inside sat a single 10 yen coin.

Would it actually cover the cost of my phone call? Since I had made it from my mobile phone and my service provider seems intent on bleeding me dry, almost certainly not. Even so, I really couldn’t care less. Coming from a country where asking a fast food restaurant to refund the cost of your call would probably result in being laughed at, this tiny little gesture made my day and served as a great reminder of Japan’s “omotenashi” hospitality.

I have no idea whether this is a one-off and specific to my local branch or whether MOS Burger refunds the cost of local calls in lieu of having an online order form, but receiving that 10 yen – an amount I might think twice about picking up off the street if it looked a bit grubby or I was feeling lazy – reminded me of how much the Japanese value the little things when it comes to customer service.

It’s been eight years, Japan, and yet you continue to surprise me. Your burgers aren’t bad either.

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- 10 things Japan gets awesomely right -- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong -- Mos Burger Goes Green With Their Mos Natsumi Burgers

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Like you said, rehashes of the same experiences had decades earlier.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If you're the type to spend all day playing video games with the curtains drawn, then chances are normal human behaviour is going to surprise you now and then....

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Jesus, what a weird story.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

What a cute story. Everyone on here is so jaded, don't let them get you down. It's good to notice and appreciate the small things.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Jesus, what a weird story.

Nothing weird about it at all. First time I experienced it was about 15 years ago.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Some, if not all, Mos Burgers have been doing this for years. The Mos I used to go to when I first came to Japan, near two decades ago, gave me 10 yen every time I made a phone order (for pickup though, not delivery).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Wow, very nice. It's a little thing, but I can't imagine it ever happening in my home country (U.S.).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Who puts fresh garlic in their refrigerator?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I couldn't believe it when I found out the Burger King near our place delivered (I very rarely eat at BK, and have never used that service). Wouldn't want to burn off a few of those thousands of calories walking 5 minutes to get lunch now would we?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Harry_Gatto If it's such a rehash I'm curious as to what intrigued you to click on this page after reading the rather explicit title.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I had my own experience of japans omotenashi too. When we ordered in mc Donalds the staff forgot a burger in our set of meal. Then we called back and when we went back they gave us a card or coupon which you can exchange for a burger or fries. :) its amazing! I wish we also have this hospitality in our country!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sometimes you could get free fries or apple pie that way in US. Hasn't happened to me in a while so I don't know if they still do that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it is a typical story of a lovely race of people. The Japanese are so charming and that is what makes Japan my favourite country. Yes, it is the little things that count. It is an attitude lost by most of the world. I hope the Japanese don't get seduced by western ways and that they never change.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The comments on this article made my day

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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