Dec 23 2004
I have been shopping a few times with Kana since we got to Japan and there are a few things which I find are quite interesting.
First thing you notice when you go to the shopping centre is the Parkade Traffic/Security guys (which I like to call Traffic Cops even though they are not cops). They are very courteous, bow and point using an orange baton which way you should be going. It is kind of nice seeing 4 or 5 people employed to help people park. But then again like Kana says, who aspires to be a parking cop!!?!
Next thing you will notice in the shopping mall is the noise level. They are Christmas tunes playing over the loud speakers, and there are little ghetto blasters on a shelf in the meat department screaming out something barely intelligible, and all of the TVs are blaring out commercials for the stores you are in. I thought shopping in North America was boisterous, but we got nothing on the Japanese. Shopping in Japan is truly an amazing experience.
Upon walking into a store pretty much every clerk will great you with a “Irrashai Mase!” which means “Thank You for Coming!” and they will give you a bow. Of course my first instinct is to bow back and say “You are Welcome!” but that could take a lot of time bowing to 30 store associates.
The most fun experience by far is watching how clerks react to Kana and I when we are at the sales counter and I talk to them in English! I tried speaking Japanese for awhile…but I only got weird looks from clerks. Now I say “Thank You Very Much!” and “We’ll see you again!” and they break open into a big smile or they start to blush and say “Arigatou Gozaimashita” which is “Thank You Very Much” in the past tense.
Shopping on the whole is much more fun in Japan, because every one is falling head over heels to help you and they really, really want to make sure you get the right things. Contrast that with shopping in West Edmonton mall, where the Eddie Bauer guy hadn’t even had a shower that morning and had to call another sales associate to find out which part of the store the polar fleece came from. YIKES!
Shopping gets 2 Thumbs Up!