Japan’s Omotenashi Tale of Most Hospitable Nation -Ahmad Ullah
A group of tourists was cycling to the island of Ninoshima in Japan. They kind of forgot about time. The setting sun told them that they were a little late, and it was time to leave the last ferry of the day towards town. They need to reach the port quickly but they didn’t know the road. The tourists got Perplexed and too worried!!
A local man came forward & said, “if you go this way, you can still catch the ferry”. Tourists quickly turned their bicycles in that direction. Going a little farther, they were surprised to see the man running after them to make sure they don’t get lost. With the help of a new friend, they were able to catch the ferry at the last minute.
Probably, you have heard about ‘Omotenashi’. With the advent of Tokyo Olympics 2020, Omotenashi had been used a lot by the media. The word represents selfless hospitality, which is an important part of Japanese culture. They consider it a special opportunity to entertain and care for the guests. They try to practice it in every sphere of ??life, including helping strangers in shops, restaurants or on the streets. They want to maintain peace in a society based on cooperation without any problem for others. That is why their importance towards the practice of social etiquette and rules is much laudable. Let’s have an example of ‘Omotenashi’.
If your money-bag is lost in Japan, it is very unlikely to be stolen. In most cases, someone will get it and deposit it in the nearest police box. When someone has a cold, they wear a surgical mask so that no one else gets infected. Before the housework begins, a box of washing powder is given to the neighbors, as a sign of help to keep the clothes clean from the dust and sand that will fly away.
The staff at the shop and restaurant will greet you humbly. When handing out retail coins they will keep one hand under your hand so that the coin does not fall off. Don’t be surprised to see the shopkeeper standing at the door saying goodbye as you leave the store.
Even Japanese technologies practice omotenashi. The taxi door will open as soon as you stand in front. The elevator will apologize for keeping you waiting. The image of a worker bowing at a construction road laments the temporary inconvenience.
The farther a person is from him, the more hospitable he is in Japanese culture. That is why their politeness towards foreigners is too praiseworthy. However, their culture is not limited to showing courtesy to people. They are taught from childhood, “If someone does something good for you, you do something good for someone else. And if someone does something bad to you, you should stop doing something bad to someone else. ”
When looking for the source of their etiquette, two things come to the fore – Japanese tea festival rituals and martial arts. The word ‘Omotenashi’ also comes directly from the tea-festival. The organizers try their best to entertain the guests. Everything from the decor of the ceremony to the teapot is chosen with the guests in mind. Don’t expect anything in return. The guests also expressed their sincere gratitude for their efforts. In this way, they created an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Etiquette, empathy, etc. were also key issues in the code of conduct of samurai warriors. Their provisions not only spoke of respect, discipline and morality, but also of the principle of doing everything properly, from war to serving tea. They also had to practice the principles of self-control, peace of mind, and respect for the enemy. From them this culture began to spread in the whole society.
Although foreigners are surprised by this etiquette, they themselves are not very satisfied with it. This is clear from the results of a recent survey conducted in Tokyo. While 85 per cent of foreigners think Tokyo’s behavior is satisfactory, only 24 per cent agree. Similarly, 69 per cent of tourists think Tokyo is a clean city, but only 41 per cent of locals think the city is clean.
This information may seem a bit ridiculous to you when you visit Tokyo. From the polite demeanor of street vendors to the sincere behavior of vendors and the bowing of staff in hotels, you might think they are the most polite people in the world.
The Japanese are seen to bring their own rubbish with them when they go to a concert or a stadium and arrange it at home. During the Football World Cup, the world noticed their noble attitude.
Yet why are they not satisfied with their behavior? Listen to Hima Furuta. He is also an entrepreneur and has started a non-profit project called the Tokyo Good Manners Project to teach Tokyo’s ‘Astray’ youth some politeness. At least from his point of view, they have been astray. As an example of their rudeness, he said, “Although young people are still trying to help others, still they lack. The pedestrians don’t respect each other while crossing or the passengers don’t regret if collide with another on the train. There are some people who throw garbage in the street or don’t pick it up when noticed.”
Seeing all these degradations, Hima Furuta has started his initiative. As you can see, most of the examples he gave of the ultimate rudeness are normal in our country.
There is another side of this etiquette-culture in Japan. Just as they do not want to cause trouble to others, they do not want to get involved in anything else. If you ask them for help, they will be happy to help. But when a Japanese person gets into trouble, he does not easily seek help from anyone else. No one else comes forward to ask.
It is also very difficult to make friends with them. For the most part, their culture of etiquette has become a tool for maintaining distance. You may find that someone is very sincere and helps you; you think your relationship with him has deepened, but in fact, it is not; he has only fulfilled his social responsibilities. It doesn’t have much of an effect on personal relationships.
All in all, the practice of this culture makes society much healthier to live in. It would be really great if the tourists could take these lessons and spread them in their own society. Little by little, the whole world would become a little better for living.