One concept that’s very important in Japan is 信頼 shinrai (SHEEN-rye), meaning “trust.” There are many situations when you see trust in action in Japan, for example the way Japanese bars will display dozens of bottles with customers’ names written on the side. This is called “bottle keep,” and the bottles have been purchased by customers who drink from them whenever they come in, trusting the establishment not to steal sips from their Yamazaki 18 Year. If it starts to rain while you’re at the post office, they’ve got a rack of umbrellas you’re free to borrow, and if you should ever lose your wallet while in Japan, just go to the nearest police station and the police will loan you train fare to get home. Once I was building a wooden deck on my house and needed a way to get the lumber from the home center to my house; happily, the store had a truck that they loan out for free, even to foreigners like me. Japanese can sometimes trust too much. Once I went to make a purchase in an electronics store but didn’t have enough cash with me; the clerk actually offered to loan me the money I needed, even though she didn’t know me at all. I don’t know about you, but I find that being in a society where trustworthiness is valued is great, and I’m always careful to make sure I don’t betray trust that anyone puts in me.
Trust is an important aspect to life in Japan. And Hibiki.