In "Neither Here Nor There," travel writer Bill Bryson says that "there are certain things that some nations do better than everyone else and certain things that they do far worse, and I began to wonder why that should be."
In your opinion, what do the Japanese do better or worse than other people? What about your country?
(a few days later)
In the comment section, you can read the answers of two of my Substack readers (THANKS). Also, I asked the same questions on Quora and Facebook. The following is a recap of the answers I got on those two sites.
I have always liked their attention to detail with stationery.
Japan has reverence for tradition and culture. It is maintained.
I like as well the respect they show the elderly. Value for their experiences keeps their elderly more included and less abandoned.
US elderly are lonely. Maybe provided for, but they are not taken seriously. Much is thought to be nonsense due to aging.
Perfectionism, they are good at this. Do worse: probably pronouncing some English sounds.
Better: Making things beautifully, from various crafts to cars, electronics, etc.
Worse: Big logical leaps in developing process.
The one thing that the Japanese do better than anybody else is their use of excess packaging.
Nobody uses more packaging for their products than the Japanese.
Customer service in Japan is excellent. Japanese people are very attentive and pay close attention to detail. An example: when traveling by plane with my daughter, who has cerebral palsy, an airline attendant in Japan brought my daughter her drink in a cup with a top and a straw. In the United States, airline attendants served her drinks in regular, easy-to-spill cups. Customer service isn’t great in the United States, but Americans are good at adapting and going with the flow.
They tend to pay attention to laws, rules, and entreaties from authority, which is better and worse than the United States.
It tends to result in less friction and violence, but also less innovation and willingness to recognize and discuss issues.
What the Japanese do best: public safety. Compared to virtually any other country, you’re unlikely to get pickpocketed or attacked, even late at night in a rougher area of Tokyo like Kabukicho.
What they do worse: benches, and little spots to simply sit and relax. Tokyo streets are generally designed for getting from A to B, and hardly ever lingering. Contrast this with a city like Barcelona, which provides ample opportunities to stop, relax and take a break.
Anything to add?
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