A culture of gratitude is in short supply in most places. “Omotenashi” is the Japanese spirit of selfless hospitality. I had the fortune of being part of this culture during my Tokyo days.

There are three things everyone prefers to hear. Due to the velocity of mobile communication (especially via SMS and social media), these words can get lost in the shuffle:

1. Name: never forget anyone’s name when addressing them. If you add
“san” you will get noticed.

2. “Thanks”: Say it a 1000 times a day. Even better, say “arigato gozaimos.”

3. “Sorry”: Sometimes an apology is what the doctor ordered. The quicker you say it, the faster you will reduce tension. If you say “sumimasen” a lot, you might become popular in a country like Japan.

sumimasen link

When I walk into any setting, I look for a classy culture that expresses these conditions. When I see people addressing each other formally to a chorus of “thanks” and “sorry”, I know it’s a place worth getting to know better. The country of Japan has integrated this courteous way of life into its DNA. When the dialogue is coarse and noisy, I know Omotenashi is missing. Without Omotenashi, culture disappears.

Asia, the fastest growing part of the world, thrives in this culture of acknowledgment and hospitality.



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