Now back home in Canada, in the middle of Nature’s awesome exhibit of her Fall colour palette, I find myself drifting off to memories of my all too brief time in Japan.
Japan had never been one of my travel destinations, so when I decided to go, it was pack up and go, no research or prior reading was done on the country, their customs, attitudes and behaviors.
For instance, I had no idea that in Japan public toilets did not supply paper towels, or hand dryers. I would have known to bring with me my own handkerchief.
Western tradition, we say “Ladies first”… Japanese tradition is “you first” the other person is placed on a higher social level than oneself… BUT… interestingly, going through a doorway, the senior male is expected to lead the way, and on a crowded train or bus, there is not need for a man to give up his seat, no matter how many packages or children a woman may be carrying. (social expectation)
When invited for lunch, a visitor usually leaves by 3 pm. while for an evening meal, visitors do not stay any later than 8 pm, even if encouraged to stay, the polite response is to leave. Host and family will often even go as far as the transit station with their guests. At the least, they will all stand at the door wishing the parting guests, safe journey etc.
The Japanese language is rich with special ways to express gratitude ie..
O-machido-sama deshita, -Thank you for waiting.
Go-chiso-sama deshita – Thank you for the meal.
Go-kuro-sama deshita – Thank you for going out of your way
O-tsukara-sama deshita -Thank you for your hard work.
Think how often we hear or say Thank you in our daily lives.
What I did experience and loved was the underground streets (Chikado) (areas of shopping) that are built in conjunction with major subway stations (train stations) in the larger cities, ie. Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya in particular)
Every eating place (shokudo) and resutoran (restaurant) has an outdoor display cabinet that contains shokuhin sanpuru, (life size plastic replicas of dishes being served in that location). I understand that in most cases, what you see outside is a very close duplicate to what you will actually get in the shop, down to the number of slices and size of portions.
I came back home with a yen for more of the fabulous food offerings I had while in Japan.No, this taste delight has not been satisfied. I will have to continue in my searching. chances are I’ll do better in a larger city, i.e. Toronto. If you have any suggestions, please send them along to me.
In PL we say…. Saying Thank You creates a heart to heart connection. If you don’t put your thoughts into words and actions, you will not be able to express how you truly feel. By expressing your gratitude in words, you can really get your feelings across.
Blessings to you all, now and forever