by Danny Yoder
In my travels I have been cheated and tricked by pretty much everyone in the service industry. Taxi drivers, cashiers, all looking to take advantage of an unknowing tourist. But returning to Japan I have had quite the opposite experience and have received the same or in some cases better service than the local Japanese population . All of this in a country where people refuse tips. The concept of omotenashi, which literally means “hospitality” is something that stands out to me about Japanese society and differentiates Japan from the rest of the world.
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. After 6 years of living in Japan, the standard service that I experienced in everyday living came to be the norm. After spending some time out of the country, I have renewed my appreciation for the polite and welcoming service one consistently receives in Japan.
Nowhere is Japanese hospitality more evident than when going out to eat. It’s easy to notice small gestures of hospitality during your meal. For example you are often served an oshibori or wet hand towel to clean your hands before eating. Or at the end of the meal you are offered a complimentary cup of hot tea. These are just a few examples of how well you will be taken care of during your stay and how Japanese service permeate throughout the culture.
Hospitality isn’t unique to any one culture or people and, yes, many other countries around the world treat their guests with great respect.When authentic, Japanese hospitality and service will exceed any travels expectations, omotenashi offers the tourist a once-in-a-life-time experience. So please come experience omotenashi for yourself and appreciate this culture that has been so good to me over the years. We all have a little bit to learn from the Japanese.
Danny Yoder is currently in the process of setting up a new resort experience in the the beautiful seaside town of Iwanai, Hokkaido. Check-out what he’s up to Iwanai resort . Also check-out his instagram @iwanairesort.