There are certain things when I return to the UK that I am going to take back with me. I’m not talking just about the souvenirs or the laptop bursting at the seams with jpgs. I’m talking about things that I have learnt from being here, from my experiences here and from observing the people.
Todays Take-away is from the ‘Worker’.
We recently spent a weekend in Kyoto and during our stay, we visited the Museum of Traditional Crafts or Fureaikan The crafts on display reminded me of the comment that Tom Cruise made in The Last Samurai that the villagers “devoted themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue.” and the crafts at the museum displayed this. They weren’t quick and easy crafts that could be whipped up in a couple of hours or a day. These took time and patience and this attitude towards the work is not just reflected in the crafts.
This diligent hard-working attitude is found all around us in our daily lives. A is averaging a 14 hour day and that seems to be the norm. There are restaurants that are open until 2am and it is even possible to have a manicure until 3am. The shops are generally open for 10 hours a day and the staff are required to clean the shops in preparation for the day. It’s not uncommon to see staff in their suits and (in the lady’s case) heels washing the windows in the morning before opening time.
They take pride in what they do so everything is done well and beautifully presented. From the taxi drivers with their clean, white covers on the seats, and food stall owners making delicious meals on the side of the road to tidy building sites where the vehicles leaving the site have their wheels washed by the guard on duty. No mud on the road here! There is a pride in everything- a humble, respectful pride.
They are polite, respectful and always helpful. I pass a car park attendant en route to school and he ALWAYS greets me with a smile and a “Konichiwa”. Regardless the weather he is there- to assist the 5 cars in and out of the car park- a menial task but one that he does with a smile nonetheless.
If you walk into certain stores or restaurants the staff all call out and greet you. While this can be deemed as annoying and the Japanese seem to just ignore them, for me it is a sign of respect. Another human being has walked into our business. Let’s stop what we are doing, greet them and show them our appreciation.
Pride in our work. (Which if we look at Genesis Chapter 1 is Biblical)
Respecting other people and greeting them with a smile.
Surely these are characteristics we could all Take-away today.
If you have enjoyed my post- why don’t you pay a visit to A Word in Your Ear where I got my inspiration for the post this week’s word from the Word of the Week Challenge and see what is happening there.