九 – お持て成し

Omotenashi. I learnt this word the other day, and it describes perfectly one of the reasons I would like to go to Japan. It means something like “hospitality”, “entertainment” or “service”. The Japanese are famous for being very welcoming and  caring for their customers. Every shop keeper will always greet you with a smile and an いらっしゃいませ irashaimase, or welcome, and will do so to each and every customer that walks in. And in every restaurant they will always serve you a glass of water even before you order. The Japanese just like to think of their customers.

But what I love most about omotenashi is that you find it in all industry types. From the 女将 okami (landlady, hostess) in a 旅館 ryokan, to a shopkeeper in a コンビに conbini, each will take their job with utmost seriousness and offer you the best service they can provide to make your visit an enjoyable one. No matter what the job, they give it their all to be the best they can be. In my opinion that shows real character.

The Japanese not only have character, but have also shown strength and courage. The 3/11 Tohoku earthquake was a disastrous event that unfortunately cost many their lives. But through solidarity, they showed everyone they were quick to get back on their feet. And now, they are waiting to receive and welcome the world in 2020.

Omotenashi.

 

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