Regarding the Jan. 11 Kyodo article “Japanese service winning customers in Europe“: I am delighted that Japanese service is rated highly, because there hasn’t been much good news recently. I feel that Japan is inferior when it comes to politics, scholastic ability and self-sufficiency, so I’m happy that our way of living, at least, is rated highly.
Polite service for travelers at a hotel or an airport is common worldwide, but staffs can act abruptly at places frequented by local people. Local residents may not mind that, but such behavior seems cold to Japanese visitors because Japanese service is so much more polite by comparison. When I take a trip to Hong Kong, I can’t even get eye contact! Japanese kindness is missed on such an occasion.
Another thing is the smile. I get the impression that Japanese are somehow considered gloomy while foreigners are cheerful. Yet, Japanese smile more often at guests than foreigners do. For example, a recent TV program focused on the world of McDonald’s workers. When a Japanese worker was ordered to smile, she smiled. Foreign staff tended not to smile even after they were ordered to do so.
Japanese efforts to improve service skills to win customers probably help make our culture. I want the whole world to have an image of the Japanese as honest people.
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