From the mind of LaCole

Please and thank you are the magic words!

Arigato gozaimasu! They say good service is hard to come by, but the Japanese do it with so much finesse that it’s embarrassing how rude Americans are. Even with the language barrier they are still very helpful people. They do not get upset or turn away when they don’t understand you; they try their best to serve you. From asking for directions in a part of town to ordering McDonalds their politeness is overflowing. On a visit to Ginza on my own I was trying to find a chopstick store, so I stop to ask the police station on the corner. With the little Japanese I knew and the little English he knew he was still able to help me make it to the chopstick store. The Officer even pulled out a map and mapped out the directions to get there. In America if that was to happen, the officer would probably get frustrated and may even give the wrong directions. I have heard stories of normal Americans visiting New York City and getting lost from directions from the people who live there.

Ordering from McDonalds I received the best service I’ve ever had than in American and I could actually call it “fast food.” The workers were so attentive, happy, and polite and had no problem waiting on you to order or pointing at what you wanted. Having been to many McDonalds in America you know that the service is terrible and the food will either be at its best or its worst. And the workers in America will get upset and frustrated when they can’t understand someone foreign. Even without the language being a problem I have had terrible service.

Living in Japan for two weeks and living in America for 21 years and witnessing the difference in how I was treated is amazing, but makes me feel shame at the same time. Americans, we have to do better.

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5 responses

  1. This post is so true. Everyone was so nice and great with directions. I actually had a friend of mine (not the smartest guy) visit New York and he asked for directions. The guy led him a few blocks from the main street before he mugged him. Thank god for Tokyo’s incredibly low crime rate that made me feel a lot more comfortable.

    June 4, 2011 at 6:49 PM

  2. The general politeness we experienced while we were there is something I really miss now that I’m back! I remember when I was lost having a train station attendant walk me to the track I needed without me even asking. And, of course, the pizza guy bowing to us after he handed us our pizzas. No way that would happen in America!

    June 5, 2011 at 3:10 PM

  3. I felt like Ronald himself in McDonalds! I agree also as Americans we need to do better. I’ve always had the idea that we were rude and a bit rash at time but now that I have another culture to directly compare us to, the idea has transformed into a true concern. The Japanese have politeness running through their veins and its all credit to their culture and centuries of practice. The respect level they have is nothing less than wonderful and they have earned all of my respect for that.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:15 PM

  4. I think this respect towards the customers and people serving others comes from the attitude towards work that the people here have. Working in American minimum wage jobs, people generally hate it and do the bare minimum to scrape by. In Japan, each day begins with “ganbatte” or “do your best,” I don’t think I’ve been told that at work ever!

    June 9, 2011 at 7:27 AM

  5. While we were in Japan, a lot of us had a tendency to head towards Mcdonalds when we were stuck without a place to eat and were ravenous after a day running around Japan. At the time, we thought it was because Mcdonald’s was familiar and easy to order from. Perhaps subconsciously it was just because the service was so amazing polite!

    June 12, 2011 at 6:53 AM

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