The Daily RBL has introduced some Japanese concepts over the last year. In this post we looked at the phenomenon which is hikikomori or basically social withdrawal where people shut themselves off from society for years at a time.
In this post we talked about uchibenkei or the idea that when you are outside of the house you are meek and mild and wouldn't say boo to a goose however when they get home they are like the lord of the manor. They are very extroverted and outgoing and creative. I'm sure we all know people like this.
Today, lets talk about 挨拶 (aisatsu) or as we would say in English, greetings.
Now, I know what you are thinking, "Blair, you are off your rocker! I don't want to disappoint you but we have greetings in English too."
That's true, we do have greetings in English too. Some good ones in fact, G'day, Wassup and Howdy come to mind.
However, there seems to be a real emphasis on the greeting here in Japan.
I live near a major embassy here in Tokyo and so 24 hours a day, 7 days a week there is quite a big police presence around the embassy. Every morning I always say good morning to them. It doesn't cost me anything and the police officers seem to appreciate it.
This is the first step. Rather than ignoring the police officers or ignoring the convenience store staff or ignoring anyone, what don't you say hello? As I said, it doesn't cost you anything and like this morning I had a smile on my face and I felt good about it.
After that, you could graduate onto a short conversation but lets just say it's small steps and just say hello, you will make someone's day and you will feel good about it too.