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(This is part one of a series of posts about my impressions of Japan. Please forgive any generalisations, inaccuracies and the taint of a mindset unaccustomed to the East)
I am currently in Tokyo and perhaps one of the strangest experiences I’ve had is being thanked and greeted, in unison, by all the waiters when I left a restaurant. It was as if the king and his retinue had just visited. This is not uncommon, apparently. The last customers to leave a store are often bowed to, I’m told, and it’s a distinctly unpleasant experience for a Western mindset.