30.08.2012 - 28.09.2012
The Japanese have to be the most polite and well-mannered group of people in the whole world. They say thank you ALL the time (even the bus drivers say it every time somebody pays for their ticket and they have a microphone so you know they are saying thank you).
If you need help – they will help you, even if they have no idea what you are asking them (they will figure it out). And if they cannot help you they will find someone who can or they will be VERY sorry.
My first few sessions at the dentist required some pain during and after the treatment. You would think that the dentist and dental nurse were personally responsible for my tooth decaying and requiring a root canal. They were so apologetic that they had caused me pain. When I had to have an x-ray and the nurse put the protective coat on me – she was so apologetic for it being a bit heavy. The Japanese do not want to put you out in anyway at all.
Along with the apologies and the thank yous comes the bowing. Sometimes it is a full bow or just a nod of the head but all the same it is a sign of respect. At the moment I am still trying to work out how the bowing stops! One day I was sitting in a park having lunch when I saw 2 men and 1 lady start bowing – and it just seemed to keep going – so how do you know when to stop? I really need to find somebody to ask! They also bow on the train a lot. When a conductor enters the carriage they bow. When leaving the carriage they bow. Same for the food attendants! I have had men and women bow at me before they sit down on the chair next to me or when they want to get pass me.
I think we need to bring all Australian children here to learn manners! Actually there are quite a few adults that could learn a trick or two as well!