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When an employee does an excellent job, it is normal for a customer to want to give out a tip to give recognition to that hard work, and who doesn’t want a tip??  – Japanese workers for sure. Japanese people are known for their excellent service, also known as “omotenashi.” However, no matter how satisfied they made a customer feel, even if they are given a tip that could pay their rent, they will not take it. Why is that? Keep reading this article to answer your questions!!

Not in the Japanese Culture

Japan is an extremely service oriented country. It is normal for them to give out their best service – with or without a tip. For Japanese workers, receiving a tip can be rude and offensive because they would rather not be judged by their performances individually. Japan is a country with strong teamwork and they will make sure that every employee will serve you fairly. To them, the idea of giving tips gives stress to both the customer and the employee. As a country that has long been known for their amazing service, this idea is not considered and never will be.

Workers get rewards!

Depending on the workplace, employees receive a reward for their hard work. A common reward would be free food. Employees are able to eat the food from their workplace for free, so that they do not have to think about the expense of their lunch or dinner. For workers working in apparel shops or accessory shops, they get discount coupons where they are able to buy products for half its price! Moreover, when they work late hours, their salary increases up to 25% per hour. Another way to get a reward is to work on busy days, such as Christmas or the New Years. While it depends on the store manager, some get a 1,000 yen as an “otoshidama” or “new year’s allowance” , as a way to say thank you for working at such a special day.

Long Break Hours

Have you ever wondered why sometimes every shops you were to enter are closed?? That is because most Japanese shops, especially restaurants, are only open during the busy breakfast, lunch and dinner hours. Some shops even only open at dinner hours. In Japan, it is common to shut down the restaurants entirely during the late afternoon. While it is an exception for fast food branches, which are usually open from morning to night, independent restaurants shut down when the rush hour ends. However, just because they are shut down does not mean that the employees are not working. They clean the restaurant and ready everything before the next rush hour. The job is simple but they still get enough high salary, and so tips are not necessary.

Pseudo-tipping

This is a common way of tipping in Japan. Have you ever experienced getting on your seat and receiving a small-portioned appetizer you do not recall ordering? – Well, that is not a service as long as the server tells you it is. This appetizer is called an “otoshi.” You are required to pay for it whether you want it or not. This appetizer usually cost around 500 yen (4.50 dollars) per person. While it may sound like good price for an appetizer, its portion size can be surprisingly small and mostly are up to two to three bites. If you were to eat with groups, more than 25% tip will be given out automatically.

However, do not worry. This system does not exist on ramen shops, sushi shops, okonomiyaki shops or any other famous Japanese food shops you could think of. In Izakaya shops, though, otoshi is pretty much common, and most shops will not tell you until you get your bill for you to realize on your own.

Omotenashi

This article will not be complete if the famous term “omotenashi” is not mentioned! As mentioned above, Japan is an extremely service oriented country and they take pride to this title very seriously. Because of this, they believe that giving an exceptional service doesn’t have to have an award every time. To them, making their customers satisfied and happy is enough an award and that they do not need money in exchange. If you truly want to show them that you appreciate their service, you can do so by going back to their shop several times and say your thanks every time. That is enough for them to be aware of your appreciation.


Japan is truly an amazing country and how they show their respect to people – no matter who it is, is remarkable. No matter how much their excellent service amazes you, try to control from giving them tips. Enjoy the service you are getting and make sure to say, Thank You!