One concept in Japan I like a lot is shinrai (SHEEN-rye), which just means “trust,” although as is usually the case in Japan, it’s a bit deeper than that. When you go to a Japanese bar you’ll usually see many bottles of alcohol with names written on them, Yamada, Tanaka and so on. These are bottles that regular customers have pre-purchased for their own use, which they can drink from any time they come in, a practice known in wasei eigo (“made-in-Japan English”) as “bottle keep.” Having many bottles with the names of regular customers on display allows the establishment to show off how popular they are, and also how trustworthy. The trust part is important in this relationship, since the customer needs to know the pub owner isn’t going to touch his expensive bottle of Suntory Hibiki 12-year old whisky when he’s not there. The Japanese idea of trust is also an important part of the shoukai (introduction) system, whereby business and other relationships are nearly always formed through official introductions. You’d never do wrong by someone who was officially introduced to you by a trusted third party, as it would be “stepping on the face of” the person who put their reputation on the line for you.
Would you trust your bartender to “bottle keep”?