Wednesday, September 27, 2006

They Still Confuse Me


After having lived in Japan for 17+ years, Japanese people still confuse me. I try very hard to figure out their take on things and see things from their perspective but some things still take me by surprise.

Today, a repairman came to fix the bathroom door which stopped closing after our kitchen floor had been replaced. He was here for about 6 hours ripping up part of the floor again, moving our washing machine and trying to work out how to get the door to close. There was a lot of hammering, drilling, and all our stuff once again was put in the middle of the floor. It was a hassle but sometimes you have to put up with the bad for the future good and it certainly was no one's fault that we were inconvenienced.

Our landlord and his wife coordinated all the repair as well as paid for it. They took time out of their day to come over and check repeatedly with the repairman as well as communicate with him and us about what was happening. During all this time, they profusely apologized for putting us out. When it was all said and done, and after many more apologies, they gave us a gift. The fairly expensive-looking bottle of red wine pictured above was given to us, apparently to apologize for any way in which we might have been bothered by the floor replacement and subsequent repair.

Unfortunately, we discovered last night that the door still hasn't been properly repaired and we'll have to go another round with the servicepeople. It closes completely now but pops open constantly. :-p I wonder if we'll warrant another gift after all this.

In the U.S., I'm guessing apologizing for any inconvenience a tenant suffers as the landlord repairs something would be unheard of, let alone offering a gift at the end. Most U.S. landlords probably feel they were doing you a big enough favor just by paying for extensive repair. Of course, it's possible that my landlords are just unusually nice people and this atypical even by Japanese standards.

2 comments:

Leo said...

I doubt many landlords would be so apologetic and give someone a gift. Though the landlords I've had have been nice enough and responsive to any issues. Maybe its just that "cultural" explanation.

And if that wine is from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, all I can say is: yummmmmm.

Shari said...

I was wondering about how good the wine was. I have actually never consumed any wine except as part of cooking and in that case, only white wine. To be honest, the bottle is somewhat wasted on us though my husband will partake. We should probably save it for a special occasion when we have dinner guests.