Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Thoughtfulness at the local 7-11

I dropped in to pick up something for lunch when I returned home between classes. The woman at the register seems to have a cold, or perhaps the epidemic hay-fever many suffer here. (Because of the Japanese love of nature, years ago they destroyed much of the native forests near Tokyo and replanted them with cedar trees which has resulted in pollen-filled air, and a lot of allergies.)

She was repeatedly sniffing as I went to make my purchase. This is normal in Japan, as it is bad manners to blow ones nose. (Except apparently in restaurants. I see and hear more and more of that while eating nowadays.) Sniffing constantly every 2-3 seconds all day, seems to be the very picture of Japanese good manners. So as I handed her my money, she wiped her nose with the palm of her hand and used it to return my change and the receipt. I marveled at the comparative kindness and politeness of Japan as a whole. If only others could be so thoughtful. Why even here this level of politeness is somewhat uncommon. (Except for the sniffing and snorting.)

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