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Train service

21 Comments

Shinkansen cleaning crew bow to a passenger at Tokyo station. Japan launched its iconic bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka 50 years ago Wednesday.

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21 Comments
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Unneeded formalities by low level clean up crews. No one cares and that time and effort is better used taking out the empty cans of oolong cha and kirin beers.

-18 ( +6 / -24 )

I disagree Hawkeye. They are awesome and can clean a train in just 7 minutes.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I agree Hawkeye, instead of outdated formalities to impress the salarymen and tourists I'd rather have real service for what I spend in fare on the bullet train. The drink carts are hit and miss, used to be all trains had them.

The fare for the Nozomi is more than airfare from Osaka to Tokyo. The bullet train takes longer so there really is no argument that it is convenience. They still serve drinks on all flights on JAL and ANA. For my money I prefer flying to bows with no meaning or service behind it.

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

Huh? a 2 floor shinkansen? thats a first. Never seen those before.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@papigiulio

2 floor shinkansen?

It may be new for the Shinkansen but the French TGV has had 2 floors for a long time !

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There have been double-decker carriages on the Shinkansen since 1985. The TGV didn't get them till 1995.

That said, France had double-decker carriages way back in the 1870s, so I guess France wins.

Yes, I'm a railway nerd and I need to get out more...,

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Yes a 7 minute clean-up is impressive but the kiss ass bowing and scraping in front of passengers seems a little much. I can remember fondly the first time I drove my 2.2 liter turbo nissan gloria into a gasoline stando and was given the ultimate service treatment compared to even old time full service gas stations in the USA. I think we had four or five staff attending to us. One pumped gas, one washed windows, one checked and topped off all under the hood (thats a bonnet to our cousins across the pond) fluids, one gave me a damp towel to wipe my steering wheel aka a handle (never figured that one out) to our japanese friends, one emptied our ashtray and filled it with nice smelling granules and last but not least one attendant walked out in the street and stopped traffic so we could pull away in style. In my rear view mirror the whole crew bowed to the waist as we drove away as If we were royalty. At the time the $4 per gallon seemed a bargain with all that attention until I woke up and remembered that gas in the USA was a 1/4 of that price if you pumped it yourself which is not allowed in japan, but it sure keeps a lot of folks working. What I am getting at is too much pomp and circumstance for such menial work costs the customer a lot more and is really unnecessary unless you have an ego that constantly needs massaging.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Great photo!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Unneeded formalities by low level clean up crews. No one cares and that time and effort is better used taking out the empty cans of oolong cha and kirin beers.

Low level? Why? It's a job like any other and they are just following the policy of the company. And, unless you are talking about the trash cans, you are supposed to carry your garbage with you and then throw it away, not leave it where you were seated...

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Low level? Why? It's a job like any other and they are just following the policy of the company. And, unless you are talking about the trash cans, you are supposed to carry your garbage with you and then throw it away, not leave it where you were seated...

I think what Hawkeye REALLY meant was, "Jobs beneath my station in life." I hope he doesn't get too many nosebleeds from having his nose at such a high altitude.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I totally disagree! There's nothing unneeded about this formality. This is how your culture treats people. for gosh sake, don't lose what greatness you have. I only wish people would acknowledge the work and effort other people do each day.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I like the additional service. One thing I dislike about the west is stripping everything down to its bare minimum. I'd rather get a little extra.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I totally disagree! There's nothing unneeded about this formality. This is how your culture treats people. for gosh sake, don't lose what greatness you have. I only wish people would acknowledge the work and effort other people do each day.

Thank you, rranta. This formality in Japanese culture is a visible expression of appreciation to the customers who chose to ride the Shinkansen. More airlines and shops and services could learn from this practice. In Japan, I've noticed that workers put a better face on and make an effort to satisfy your needs.(Though one fellow in the photo doesn't look too enthusiastic about his bow. More training needed!)

I always appreciate and reward the good service I receive--whether it's in smiles, compliments, expressions of gratitude or where appropriate, tips. The opposite is also true. I no longer purchase anything in a store where I am not greeted. So many clerks in the West are "busy" with something--often their phones--and do not greet the clients.

Likewise, when students used to complain about being the last class on a Friday afternoon and couldn't they just slack off, I reminded them that they deserved the same first-rate education/lesson/preparation for the exam that the others got on Thursday morning or any other time.

When they understood a last period class as something of quality they deserved and that I was going to deliver the best; they participated more eagerly. Like every other worker, there are times I didn't feel like being there either. I told them that too--but asked them whether it ever showed. No.

I'm all for doing a job properly. And like rranta, I wish we would all make a greater effort to properly acknowledge the very real contribution and effort of other workers--whatever their position or education or social class with sincerity and respect.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I respectfully disagree, Hawkeye. I admit I enjoy being bowed to by the likes of these cleaners - it makes me truly feel like a "God" - at least for a short time! (but cleaners - constructive criticism - please be sure to check the seat pouch carefully: Ive recently noticed more and more commuters are leaving trash in them.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So many people in the west look down on honest labor. We all have importance from the Chairperson to the cleaner of offices. How would things be if no one wanted to do these jobs? There is no one to collect your garbage, stock the shelves in stores, ring up the sales. For all of those "it is below my station", really what would you do without the "little people". My message is we all have value and in the west getting almost anything done is very difficult. So how about getting out of your lofty towers and appreciate the things done. Another reason they bow is because they take pride in their work and do the best job possible.

So picture a world without them. You throw down your trash onto a street clogged with garbage. No body wants to gt their hands dirty and it is too much effort to place it in the automated trash bins. You complain because at the restaurant you have to collect your food from an automatic machine and are finned by not putting your waste in the collection window, Yes you have to wipe down your own table. The restrooms are cleaned by machines but somehow thy are always dirty. It goes on and on any all you you that think service is beneath them need to rethink your positions.

All of this from a picture of a train cleanup crew bowing to their passengers.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Very well said YuriOntani.

And for those who have not seen bi-level (2 Storey) Shinkansen, just hear north from Tokyo and you will see plenty of them I like the Max Toki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toki_(train)#mediaviewer/File:P14_Max_Toki_321_Takasaki_20060115.JPG

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Do regular cleaning crew wear black pants and black shoes?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

While I appreciate the efficiency and thoroughness of the cleaners, the bow is unnecessary.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My guess is they are new graduates of Tetsudo Kyoshushi, These graduates are trained for all sort of jobs such as cleaning and tickets takers first then will be assogned to suitable positions later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess my last comment here was a little OT. To be more on topic, I'll just re-iterate that I highly respect the mixture of culture and service in the Japanese industry. The train service is no exception to this. Although, I have not riden the Shinkansen in Japan yet, I've experienced the very quick cleaning service of its Taiwanese cousin. :).

Fast and efficient service. A good model for the international train industry. :)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

thehedonist it is Japanese custom and you can always give a return bow. It would show your appreciation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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