Be Kind to One Another in 2019 -From Canada with Love
There is something to be said for good customer service. It transcends age, gender, language, and career. I have been truly amazed and humbled by how well we can take care of one another. Taking that extra step to make a shopping, dining or spa treatment extra special can be one of the easiest things you will do. It may not seem that much to you, but to the recipient of that consideration, you can change their whole day. I have been fortunate to spend 2 months in Tokyo, so far, and I have one month left. In this short time I have been so honored by the attention I have received. Every morning I go to the same convenience store, and every morning the clerk starts to prepare my order before I make my way to the register. We have now been able to exchange some pleasantries, and have become familiar with each other through our brief interactions. She is studying English and is writing her Japanese Language Level 2 exam soon. Her English is very good, and has even picked up some western phrases that I have taught her. We have passed each other on the street as she is leaving work and I am returning to my apartment. It is comforting to pass a friendly, familiar face in such a large, anonymous city.
The work days are long, and quite busy. The salon staff often have to eat or break very quickly, and being in such a popular location, the salon is prone to several walk -ins and last minute bookings. I am familiar with this, as we are in the service industry and our reputation and income are dependent on reliability and availability to our customers. Amidst the hustle i have managed to source out some convenient, healthy, "fast-food" options. However, this is Shibuya and it is said that on average 250,000 people pass through Shibuya Crossing per day. As you can imagine, it can be difficult accomplishing anything within our 20 min breaks. One of my tiny gems is a halal kebab shop. While I do love Japanese food, it is nice to have the options Shibuya has to offer. The owner is there first thing in the morning preparing the Chicken and Beef, that honestly, tastes better the longer it cooks. And he is there until 9 at night. Given his ideal location, he must see 100's, if not more, people a day. However, whenever I get a craving, I enter the queue. The owner is rapidly slicing meat, grilling pita, prepping meals, and serving soda, or Asahi. Even with all of the orders being directed at him, more often than not he notices me waiting. Once he does, he opens a Ginger-ale, points to me, and sends it down the line. Each person in the line passing the soda back, slightly confused at to what is happening. When I make my way to the front, order my food, and give him my 1000 yen note, he never lets me tip him, or pay for the soda. He simply smiles and says "next time!".
These two people, whom I only interact with for the purpose of sustenance, have significantly impacted and altered my experience in Tokyo. I will think of them long after I have gone, and I hope they will think of me too. I don't know if they have created bonds or relationships with many of their customers. I like to think we have impacted each others lives and will continue to make visits to other countries more memorable, or experiences in our establishments special, and note worthy.