I totally love the japanese culture and people! You could think that this kindness japanese people usually have, is just show and nothing real. But, I think this would be a total wrong interpretation (at least in many situations): I mean, what is wrong with beeing nice, polite and courteously to people you don’t know? Or even treat friends and family in this way. Of course, at some point you should be honest about your feelings, but nevertheless, you can CHOOSE the way you do it: Yes, you could be harsh and complain about an ugly gift for example and create a situation that is not comfortable for you (because you feel this negative feelings you express) and the other person (just wanting to make you happy with a gift and in the end were not able to reach this goal). But, wouldn’t you hurt the feelings of the one giving it? Why not put it in nicer words and appreciate that someone put some effort in finding this gift (at least you can assume most of the times that someone actually PUT effort into finding the gift…). The way you put your words determines if the situation evolves with a positive or negative feeling. In my opinion, being honest and at the same time kind, nice and polite does not exclude each other! I mean, think about this: Would you like spending time with somebody always complaining, always beeing negative about everyone around? Always seeing the evil in the behaviour of others? Beeing just happy, if everyone and everything behaves just the way this person wants and expects it? Would you really spend more time than necessary with someone like that? I definitely wouldn’t! And think about the other way around: If you always want other people to behave like YOU think is right, you will never get to know another point of view. You can never really put what you think to the test to find out whether it is really right or perhaps wrong. By arguing (you can do this in a friendly way without hurting someones feelings) you get to rethink your position and in the end, might come to a new one or be even more confident into what you believe in. And even doing things you don’t believe in, might lead to new experiences that redefines your thinking. Experience, no matter if good or bad, get you forward and make you a (eventually) better person (if you try hard enough to be one).
I recently read a book about creativity and the suggestion was always “Think outside the box”, “Question things you know”, “Combine, Remove and add things to the things you know and beliefe in”. And yes, I think this is right: Only by doing this , you can really create something new and be creative. Doing things just because someone tells you, might be totally wrong and most important : You are not doing what YOU believe and after sometime you might even not know anymore what is really YOU! And also: The more you act totally as you, makes you more and more confident and stronger. This way, people just wanting to hurt you and treat you bad, won’t get to you and you will still be strong and confident about your opinion. So, rethink, whenever possible, but also fight for your position, if needed.
But , actually, let’s come back to the beginning: Being nice and polite. I think it can never be wrong. Of course only, if you are still honest at the same time : Otherwise you will just do it because you have to and not because you think being nice is a good thing. What about the japanese people in this context? Well, first of all, when I visited Japan, I came across this really polite and nice people there. I really loved the time I spend there. Today some part of this feeling came back: I bought a bag on ebay from a japanese woman. Of course , most ebay sellers (at least as I experienced) are nice: Some even leave you small thank you notes. But the experience with this package was… well , see for yourself: First, there were some problems with the sending: Yes , as I found out , EMS packages and the German post DHL is a really bad combination. The package was in Frankfurt customs some time and I even thought something was totally wrong, since my postcode did not match the postcode from the package trace number. So I contacted her and she was really helpful , contacted her post office at the next day, wrote me the receiver adresse she put on the package and so on. Finally I received a letter from DHL that I can pick up my package at a customs facility. Of course this facility was not the one near my home adress, but across town (actually not even the same town anymore …). Luckily , I had a business meeting two metro stops away from customs. But nevertheless I had to walk nearly 1km and it took me about a hour to receive the package and go back to my original route. Of course , it was cold, started raining , it was an ugly industrial area where I had to walk across and the next metro was late and crowded. BUT: It was all worth it. Of course , the bag I bought was cool, but this was not the main reason: Besides the bag, there was a really nice letter (not just some standard one, but a really personized one) and also a candy. I loooove japanese sweets. Of course all things with matcha, but this one seems to be a standard candy on first side, but it was a candy that taste like tomato (with a slight salty taste). It was really great. And, it made me smile. This whole package was just one of those small things that make your day even better. Those things you cannot buy with all the money there is… So I was sitting there, out in the cold and rain, waiting for my train and freezing and… smiling.