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Japan: the country where the customer is truly king

Ⓒ AFP – Behrouz MEHRI – | A woman places her umbrella in a deposit at the National Arts Center in Tokyo on September 4, 2017

From high-tech toilets to disposable umbrellas to multi-service mini-supermarkets, Japanese daily life is facilitated by attention to detail and the willingness of manufacturers and traders to offer an outstanding service.

“Customer attention is rooted in Japanese culture,” said Kazuhiro Watanabe, consumer trends hunter in the Nikkei BP group. “Here we advance our desires, this value is transformed into object, into behavior or into action”.

And foreign visitors also benefit from this “omotenashi” (Japanese hospitality) that Tokyo intends to further strengthen for the Olympic Games of 2020.

Non-exhaustive flourish during a typical day in Tokyo.

Ⓒ AFP – Behrouz MEHRI – | A baby seat near a heated toilet bowl in a shopping mall in Tokyo on September 4, 2017

The alarm rings. Head to the toilet. The archipelago is famous for the sophistication of its toilets, with jets of washing, heated bowl, sound of artificial water to cover any annoying noise, etc.

The public toilets, always clean and impeccable, are often equipped with a seat to lay down their infant for relief.

No time to swallow breakfast, you go to work. On the way, buy a snack at the “konbini”, multiservice mini-market open day and night where one can also, among other things, pay his electricity bills or get socks and spare shirt.

At the worst, there will always be a canned coffee (hot or cold) thanks to the 2 million vending machines of beverages that mark the streets of all the cities and towns of the country.

To pay, not the trouble to take out his small change, the smartphone or a smartphone Suica smart card with contactless smart is enough. Touch the playback terminal and it is set. The gesture is the same in transport (trains, metros, buses and even taxis): in Tokyo, nearly nine out of ten passengers use this card or an equivalent (Pasmo).

Thin, it’s raining! Transparent umbrellas under 3 euros are available almost everywhere. Before entering the office, you slip it in a plastic bag provided at the entrance to avoid turning the premises into wading pool (a gesture however not very ecological). At the reception of the town halls or museums, one can leave it with a padlock deposit.

– ‘Downside’ –

This is the lunch break. In the numerous gargotes of the capital, are often displayed in showcase reproductions of the dishes to be tasted to facilitate the choice of the customer. At the table, a special basket is made available so as not to dirty his briefcase or handbag by placing it on the floor.

Ⓒ AFP – Behrouz MEHRI – | Reproductions of the dishes displayed in front of a restaurant in Tokyo on September 4, 2017

Weekend: Get away from Tokyo, skiing or golfing. No need to bother with its equipment: call on the special service offered by “takuhaibin”, couriers for individuals and companies who carry everything from door to door from one end of Japan to the other.

Arriving at the station platform, you can comfortably sit in the “Shinkansen”, a Japanese high-speed train that was inaugurated half a century ago, punctual to the second. Want a space at 4? Rotate part of the seats yourself.

“The Japanese are very pragmatic people, comfort, practicality outweighs everything,” decrypts the French sociologist Muriel Jolivet, specialist of Japan where she has lived for more than 40 years.

Ⓒ AFP – Behrouz MEHRI – | A deposit at a metro station in Tokyo on September 4, 2017

Besides these daily conveniences, Japan is full of unusual objects. A book-pillow for pinning up a job, a shirt fan for the days of great heat or unlike heaters to slip into his pockets or stick on his clothes during the glacial winters (“kairo”), a refrigerator that indicates that the door has remained open …

“This type of object has existed for a long time, I think that the Japanese like to invent useful and unusual utensils at the same time. They are very strong in the improvement of the existing products, rather than in the creation of a concept from zero, “Watanabe said.

So Japan ideal country? Everything is so under control, we take full responsibility for the client, “we do not let him do what he wants, it’s the other side of the coin,” Watanabe said. However, to be overly pampered, the Nippons are less autonomous, less resourceful than the Westerners, he regrets.

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