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ありがとう

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ありがとう

Postby adam » Mon 08.14.2006 3:04 am

I've noticed that Japanese customers don't seem to use this at stores, or anytime they come to a cashier whether it's a restaurant, department store etc. They just seem to nod their head. I notice the only people who say ありがとう to cashiers are foreigners. So is it better not to use arigatou?
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RE: ありがとう

Postby keatonatron » Mon 08.14.2006 3:39 am

adam wrote:
So is it better not to use arigatou?


If you want to act like a rude Japanese person, yes.

If you want to act like a polite foreigner, no.

But seriously, it's kind of strange to ask "should I say thank you?" because that's totally up to personal preference. I think what you really want to know is, why do the Japanese not say thank you to people that are serving them?

I actually think the Japanese are more sensible about it. It may make me sound like a jerk, but I understand and agree with the reasoning. The person is simply doing their job. They want money, that's why they're working. They aren't ringing up my groceries because they want to be nice. Since their actions aren't ones of generosity, it doesn't really fit to thank them. Of course, if someone goes out of their way to be nice and/or gives me better service than is required of them (gives me free stuff, accommodates all of my extreme requests without complaining, etc.) and/or works long and hard on my behalf (like the housing agent who spent 2 weeks doing the paperwork to get my apartment rented for me), I will properly say thank you, and so will most Japanese people.

Thanking is supposed to be used when someone goes out of their way to be nice to you. The employees are required to thank the customers, because the customers could easily take their business elsewhere. However, it's a normal, everyday thing for the employees to be there at work, so you don't really need to thank them.

It's like on those hospital TV shows when the doctor doesn't get thanked for saving someone's life, and the guy says "you were just doing your job. I'm a garbageman, no one thanks me for picking up their garbage."
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RE: ありがとう

Postby adam » Mon 08.14.2006 3:59 am

That actually cleared it up quite well. I think because I'm used to in America how we just kind of say "thanks", when we really don't actually mean it. I guess Japanese just skip that step, and save it for when it matters. But yea, what you said makes a lot of sense.
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RE: ありがとう

Postby chikara » Mon 08.14.2006 4:24 am

keatonatron wrote:.....Thanking is supposed to be used when someone goes out of their way to be nice to you......
Didn't that used to be the theory behind tipping in the USA :@
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there
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RE: ありがとう

Postby coco » Mon 08.14.2006 4:53 am

これ、とってもおもしろいですね。keatさんの指摘は勉強になります(私が英文を正しく理解できていれば、ですが :p)。

Keatさんの説明に加えますと、
もともと商人という立場が下位に見られていたという歴史も、これらの対応と関係があるのではないかと考えます。

後に「経営の神様」とまで称されることになる松下幸之助( 11参照) にしても創業間もなくの頃から
「お客様の小言は神の声と思って何事も喜んで受け入れよ。」
という姿勢を貫いてきました。
製造業にしてこの心高ヲですから、いわゆる第三次産業では、お客さまに対して「売る側」あるいは「サービスを提供する側」が奉仕し、客は、軽く会釈しつつ(当然のこととして)受けるのが基本的な習慣であったと思います。
「お客さま」という言葉ひとつとっても、立場の違いが読めますよね。

現在では、海外在住経験者も増えてきましたので、よく観察すれば、大学生/社会人以上の年齢ならば「どうも」程度の挨拶は交わしているように思います。「ありがとう」の人もいます。
また飲食店利用時(精算時)には店の人に「ごちそうさま。(おいしかったよ)」と声をかけている人は半数以上だと思われます。

私個人のことをいえば、スーパーやコンビニで買い物をするときは「どうも」。
気に入った飲食店では「おいしかった〜! 御馳走さま」以上のことを言います。
気に入らなければ、軽くうなづく程度です( もしくは苦情を言う場合も)。

海外で、利用者がお礼を言うのは見ていると気持がよいと思いますが、「あのサービスと味でよくお礼を言えるなぁ」と感じることも。飲食店のチップに至っては、理解しがたいこともある(サービスも味も最悪の場合)というのが本音です。 ;)

私の知人で、バス、タクシーを利用して下車する際、必ず「ありがとうございました」と運転手さんに声をかける人がいます。見ていて気持が良いので、マネをするときもあります。
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RE: ありがとう

Postby Infidel » Mon 08.14.2006 6:53 am

adam wrote:
That actually cleared it up quite well. I think because I'm used to in America how we just kind of say "thanks", when we really don't actually mean it. I guess Japanese just skip that step, and save it for when it matters. But yea, what you said makes a lot of sense.


I wouldn't say we don't mean it. It is just a different contextual use of the word. One thank you expresses true thanks, the other is there for courtesy. We say thank you to workers, not because we are thankful, but because we don't want to treat the clerk like a menial. It gives the worker a bit of pride back after lowering themselves for your benefit.

We are taught that respect is mutual reguardless of station, so after we are shown respect, we return the respect. The Japanese way seems to expect respect to go one way if the individuals are not peers.
Last edited by Infidel on Mon 08.14.2006 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
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RE: ありがとう

Postby Ezrach » Mon 08.14.2006 9:39 am

Great topic. I tried to tip a waitress in Japan, once upon a time. I was fully aware of the Japanese custom of not tipping, but I like to do these sort of social experiments for kicks and laughs from time to time, just to see human reactions from different cultures.

I left the money on the table, and they immediately ran after me, as I had apparently left "forgotten goods" behind. I explained that the service was excellent, and that she should keep the money. But she couldn't do that. I asked why. She said no one has ever tipped her. I responded, "There's always a first time for everything," and did one of those laughs that insinuates what I had just said was to be taken lightheartedly, as a joke. She responded with the most serious face, and a very bowed posture, and handed me the money back. I stood there for 5 seconds to see what her next move would be, but at that point other customers began to look, so I took the money and apologized for trying to give it to her. Ahh - nostalgia.

In regards to saying thank you:
I don't even see the term meaning literally "thank you" when used back in the States. It's more of a, "OK, this conversation is over now, as our business has concluded," when you pick up your venti latte at starbucks. In Japan, "the customer is a god." I'm not saying it's the ideal custom (having worked for 3 restaurants and a Jamba juice during my time in University), but it is the way things are in Japan, and saying ありがとう just isn't necessary in Japan. In fact, when you say it, you are just reaffirming that foreigners know nothing of Japanese culture. There are situations that change things, though - as keatonatron mentioned. (Like getting ”サービス”)
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RE: ありがとう

Postby AJBryant » Mon 08.14.2006 9:50 am

I was fully aware of the Japanese custom of not tipping, but I like to do these sort of social experiments for kicks and laughs from time to time, just to see human reactions from different cultures.


Jeeze. Don't do that. You make yourself look stupid and only annoy the crap out of people.


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RE: ありがとう

Postby Ezrach » Mon 08.14.2006 10:11 am

AJBryant wrote:
Jeeze. Don't do that. You make yourself look stupid and only annoy the crap out of people.


Isn't that the whole point of being 19 years old, in college, and hanging out with friends during a night on the town? At least I wasn't breaking car windows in Shinjuku. I was in a family restaurant conducting social experiments with a bunch of other culturally shocked college students learning about language and culture in a foreign environment.
Last edited by Ezrach on Mon 08.14.2006 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: ありがとう

Postby keatonatron » Mon 08.14.2006 10:48 am

Victory Manual wrote:
I tried to tip a waitress in Japan, once upon a time.)


Once a friend took me to the barber shop where his friend was working so I could get my hair cut. His friend did a good job, and gave me a huge discount on the usual Y4000 rate: "How does 1000 yen sound? Oh, actually, 1050 with tax." I gave him Y1100 and he ran off to get my change. I was thinking "it's only 50 yen, and he gave me a big discount anyway, I'll just tell him to keep it." So I tried, and he just stared at me blankly, unable to comprehend what was happening. Finally my friend said "Hey, what are you doing, just take your change!" I don't think he understood either.
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RE: ありがとう

Postby coco » Mon 08.14.2006 11:51 am

「ありがとう」に関していえば、それを言ったあとの応対の違いの方が
もしかすると戸惑いませんか?

客: ありがとう
店員:どういたしまして ←これは日本では使いません。

お客さんが「ありがとう/どうも」ということはあっても、店員が You are welcome にあたる言葉で返礼するということは、まずないと思います。
いくつか考えてみると...

客:どうも[color=gray](会釈)
店員:ありがとうございました/ございます[/color]

個人の付き合いなどでは
(時間を共有したことを感謝し合う場合など)
A:ありがとう(ございます)
B:こちらこそありがとう(ございます)


互いに面識のない場合
(BがAの落とし物を拾ってあげた場合など)
A:あ、すみません。ありがとう(ございます)。
B:いえいえ
( あるいは 無言で会釈)

考えてみれば、「どういたしまして」を使う機会は少ないんです。
同格か目下に使うのが一般的で、目上には基本的に使わない言葉だと思います。

Adamさんの最初の疑問に戻れば
「ありがとう」と言ってもらって気分を悪くする人は稀です。
Infidelさんの言う
It gives the worker a bit of pride back after lowering themselves for your benefit.
のような意味合いあっても、そうでなくても、
「ありがとう」の言葉を聞けば、嬉しいものです。
きっと相手は「ありがとうございます!」を繰り返すだろうと思いますよ。
Last edited by coco on Mon 08.14.2006 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: ありがとう

Postby AJBryant » Mon 08.14.2006 12:20 pm

I've often found that being polite with service staff helps assure good service. Smiles and saying "thank you" go a long way to making *their* day and job better, and that is a good thing all around. A happy grociery bagger isn't going to toss the eggs into the bottom of the bag.

I used to make it a point, if the stores were a bit slow, to engage the counter guy at my local hokka-hokka bentou place, grociery stores, and convenience stores, in small chit-chat. They got to know me, as a regular customer, and we developed a mutually pleasant relationship. It also paid off in occasional "saabisu" and heads-up as to what was going to be on sale or special.

Oh, and it's a great way to help improve your Japanese if you live alone and seldom have an opportunity to talk to anyone outside of class.


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RE: ありがとう

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 08.14.2006 1:20 pm

AJBryant wrote:
I was fully aware of the Japanese custom of not tipping, but I like to do these sort of social experiments for kicks and laughs from time to time, just to see human reactions from different cultures.


Jeeze. Don't do that. You make yourself look stupid and only annoy the crap out of people.


Tony


playing games with people just to amuse yourself is like playing in traffic.. you might miss the cars a few time, but that one car just might bust you right in the chops..

I remember my first dinner by myself in Japan and after my meal, I left a 1000 yen on the table and went to pay my bill. I was outside nearly half way down the block when this young lady, came running after me. I wasn't sure what I had done, but the look on her face made me think I had just stepped on her cat or something.

I was not aware that tipping was not an acceptible practice and my Japanese was not so good to understand her plight.. I kept trying to explaing that good service warrants a good tip.. An older man happened by and lucky for me he spoke better English that I did Japanese.. After a few minutes he was able to explain to me that leaving money was not necessary.

I felt really bad about emberrassing the girl, so I returned to the restaurant to apologize. I suppose just taking the money back would have been enough, but I knew enough about "Face" and that I had really put her in a bad situation, that I went back to make sure everyone knew that it was my mistake and not hers..

I am not sure what came of the whole thing, but with the older mans help and my, at the time, limited Japanese, I explained that in America, when a business does service over and above the norm that a tip is left to say, Thank you, great job, please take this as my way of showing gratitude. This seemed to sit ok with the owner who then explained to me that good service was expected in Japan and that if the service wasn't above expectations, it would make the business look bad and that tips were not expected nor were they accepted.

Needless to say, I realized that some cultural differences aren't so much odd, but after explanations, I figured out that I would have to leave my werstern cultural knowledge in the suitcase and study more of Japanese culture to make sure I did not offend somone else. Sure the Japanese are more forgiving a foreigner for mistakes, but they are even more accepting when a foreigner does the appropriate thing at the appropriate time, without causing another to lose FACE..
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RE: ありがとう

Postby AJBryant » Mon 08.14.2006 2:09 pm

You just reminded me of something.

When I first came back to the States after living in Japan, I had to relearn to tip.

Now, of course, you see tip jars *everywhere* -- even on counters where there are no waiters. That just cheeses me off.


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RE: ありがとう

Postby Ezrach » Mon 08.14.2006 9:14 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:
I am not sure what came of the whole thing, but with the older mans help and my, at the time, limited Japanese, I explained that in America, when a business does service over and above the norm that a tip is left to say, Thank you, great job, please take this as my way of showing gratitude. This seemed to sit ok with the owner who then explained to me that good service was expected in Japan and that if the service wasn't above expectations, it would make the business look bad and that tips were not expected nor were they accepted.

Needless to say, I realized that some cultural differences aren't so much odd, but after explanations, I figured out that I would have to leave my werstern cultural knowledge in the suitcase and study more of Japanese culture to make sure I did not offend somone else. Sure the Japanese are more forgiving a foreigner for mistakes, but they are even more accepting when a foreigner does the appropriate thing at the appropriate time, without causing another to lose FACE..


First off, no one loses face for bringing you forgotten goods. I've left umbrellas, credit cards, and textbooks in restaurants, and the waitress or waiter isn't shamed to bring it to you. That's an overly stereotypical "shogun"esque view of the culture.

Second, restaurants "expect good service" from their employees, because, compared to American prices, restaurants in Japan are over-priced (have you ever paid $3 for a glass of milk back home?). All of the tip money that employees would have earned is compensated for by a much higher hourly wage. That, and the "table charge" that accompanies your dining experience. WHAT THE HELL IS A TABLE CHARGE? It's how the restaurant pulls more money out of its customers, without having to establish the tipping system.

Japanese culture is not as complicated as people would have you believe (or, for that matter, as Japanese would have the rest of the world believe - reference "nihonjinron"). At the end of the day, that waitress goes home and bitches about all the crap that happened at work.
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