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Updated: Mar 3, 2022

“It’s so Japanese!”

“I love Japanese! “

“They (Japanese) are so nice !”

I used to get these comments from international coworkers almost every day when I was working in a hotel in New Zealand.

A lot of Japanese guests visit The Hermitage Hotel, which is in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, every day.

Through this experience of working as a receptionist at the hotel, I was able to realize the good points of Japanese people, which I had been completely blind to in Japan.

I'm not saying that the Japanese are better than other nationalities...I just wanted to express the newfound appreciation I found for "Japaneseness" ..or what makes us Japanese...and these are things I didn't think about until I lived overseas

I hope this interests you.

I really hate stereotypes.

“This country is always this, all the guys are….. this person is … “

Isn’t it such a waste to judge people before you actually talk to them and spend time with them?

That being said, to be honest, I sometimes used to complain to my coworkers about hotel guests from certain countries, based on their nationalities.

However, all the comments I heard about Japanese people were (surprisingly) only good things.


Needless to say, Japanese manners and etiquette have a good reputation internationally.

If you go to a restaurant, it’s very easy to identify a table with Japanese people. It’s always clean and quiet.

They barely shout or talk loudly in public areas.

They never cut in line.

I realized that the standard of Japanese manners is above average when I compared them to other international guests.

I suppose that Japanese manners are closely related to the Japanese sense of shame.

“It’s embarrassing to do ~ in front of others.”

“It’s embarrassing to dress like that.”

“It’s embarrassing to behave like that.”

These are the things that we were often told when we were kids.

I also often hear the complaint from my foreign friends that “Japanese people are too shy and too self-conscious”

It surely sounds like a negative thing.

But I have come up with this theory after much thought, which is that the Japanese sense of shame has created internationally reputable Japanese manners.

They are not self-conscious, they are “others-conscious,” or in other words, considerate of others, hence they turn out to be shy.

Doesn't it sound much more positive in this way? haha


"Look at this bro, a Japanese elderly lady gave this to me!"

A bulky Kiwi coworker showed me an origami crane with a big smile on his face. One of the guests had given this to him as an appreciation for help with her baggage.

This is just one of the many stories that my coworkers told me about getting little gifts from Japanese guests, such as Japanese snacks, stickers, and keychains.

One thing in common was that every one of them was staring at the gift with a big smile on their face. This doesn't happen when you just get tipped normally.

As a Japanese person, I have to admit that I would react to these gifts like " What am I supposed to do with this origami? I prefer another flavour of the snack."

But for those who don't know much about Japan/Japanese culture, these gifts turned out to be much more valuable than money.

Many origami cranes were displayed in the office.

If you think about it, these origami and snacks are very personal and you can easily attach memories to them. You cannot help showing them off to your friends.

Surprisingly, I have never heard any non-Japanese guests giving small gifts instead of money besides Kevin from Home Alone. What a creative guy. (Yes, I am a big Home Alone fan, and he has a big heart.)

It's such a simple idea but I suppose not many people come up with this.

Why don't you give a small gift to a porter instead of money on your next stay in a hotel?


We had many groups in-house, not only FIT guests. It's safe to say that almost half of the in-house guests are groups.

Every group has a tour leader. It was essential for us to communicate well/work closely with the tour leader. Most guests in a group don't speak English.

Our favourite tour leaders were Japanese tour leaders. They all were well prepared and responsible. You will be shocked by the difference between them and other tour leaders.

For example, we were always trying to get a pre-order from a group that dines at a restaurant where we serve a three-course set a la carte menu in order to help the operation.

All pre-orders by Japanese groups tended to be completed before their arrival, but we had to remind other tour leaders many times.

This cooperation from Japanese tour leaders had restaurant staff serve their guests happy.

Also, I still remembered that everyone was impressed by how efficiently one of the Japanese restaurant staff always worked. "She works like a robot, so faultless and efficient."

She was planting the seeds of the good stereotype of Japanese people. The restaurant manager was muttering "It would be great if all restaurant staff were Japanese" as a joke.

I truly believe that many of our Japanese predecessors who worked and behaved well overseas made it possible for us to feel proud about being Japanese.

As a Japanese person working overseas, I do have a responsibility to protect and uphold this stellar reputation that Japanese people have created.

Most of all, I am so glad that I am Japanese.


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