This being a business trip I am experiencing Tokyo through a corporate prism. That’s no bad thing and in many respects it is, at least in my opinion, even more enriching than a self-conducted leisure visit.
Let me explain. The business context means you experience everyday life with all of its similarities with your own culture but also the difference – even the small ones seem much bigger.
Four days into my Tokyo visit one thing in particular stands out for me and that’s the level of precision and meticulous approach to tasks where pride does matter.
In our office block in Meguro district I’m enjoying meeting breaks and the visit to the Tully’s coffee kiosk downstairs in the lobby. I’m fascinated by the precision shown by the barristas. I reckon they spend about 5 times as long as your typical NYC or London SBUX barrista preparing a drink and ensuring the cup is handed in pristine condition. The first few visits this rankled (“give it to me already” running through my head) but as time went on I started to really appreciate it.
This morning’s breakfast sandwich (only so much fish I can consume) was wrapped and stickered and bagged as if wrapping up an engagement ring in Tiffany’s. I now fully understand why my work standards need to be higher to satisfy a very demanding audience.
My bow is coming along nicely (not quite as pronounced as President Obama) and my use of the chopstick (not bad to begin with) has reached new heights.
(1) Being surrounded by optimistic and happy people.
(2) Great customer service ethic.
(3) Eclectic and original curation of fashion styles.
(4) My shower and bath room with water of a temperature and intensity that I feel I shed a layer of skin every morning – bliss.
(5) Packaging. Love the packaging. On everything.
(1) Automatic Toilets
(2) A currency with too many zeros to get my head around.
(3) That’s it….