The column “Omotenashi comes up short on humility” in the Oct. 11 edition gave me a chance to ponder the essence of omotenashi (hospitality).
The other day, I read a beautiful example of omotenashi. The story is that a husband, who lost his wife a few months ago, drops in at a sushi shop he visited several times before.
A young worker who knows him asks, “Today you came alone?” The man explains his situation. Then the worker begins preparing chopsticks, napkin, tea and shoyu plate at the seat next to him, saying “Please enjoy eating together with your wife!”
The husband could not stop his tears.
The giver of hospitality understood completely the situation of the receiver of omotenashi and also knew what should be done to help the customer.
In this case, omotenashi was not done with a big, showy attitude and voice, rather in a quiet, casual style. However, the effect was so powerful that both the customer and the worker will surely never forget this experience.
It can be concluded that omotenashi is a kind of philosophy of coexistence, which can be applied to any field and situation. This does not have to be limited to a Japanese style of hospitality, but also the style of humankind, regardless of so many difficult problems we now have.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.