This is a photo I took at a Tokyo restaurant yesterday, Sunday lunch time:
People line up to order their salad, pay, pick up their order and then, if they choose to eat in, they take a seat at one of several tables. So far so good.
Now note the two empty seats at the table, near the end of the line. The restaurant was full, and these were they only seats available. With about eight people standing in line, it is clear that those at the end of the line will likely not have a seat by the time they finish the ordering process.
What would typically happen in such cases? Those people at the end of the line, conveniently standing next to the empty seats, would try to first grab these seats, putting their coat or bag on the chairs, and only then proceed to order. Right?
Well, not in Japan. The people standing next to the two empty seats will (mostly) not grab them. Other people got there first, so it’s only right those people should have the seats. It’s called good manners.
(This is a post in the series “Why Japan is the Closest Place to Paradise“)