「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


A little goes a long way

By Samantha Loong


"You know nothing!" barked the trainer. "All you know is how to greet, so you better make each and every greeting the best you can give!" This was around 10 years ago, when I attended a training course for new employees. I had just started working for a Japanese company, and it was day one of our boot camp.

Our trainer was quick to point out that, in order to give a good impression, it was important to cheerfully greet everyone that we came across in our workplace — even if we didn't know them. It's a shame that the trainer didn't also emphasise the importance of continuing to greet others beyond the first month of being a new employee. I think giving experienced employees and those in upper management refresher courses on greeting others would also be a good idea. Having worked in different Japanese corporate environments, I've noticed that only rarely do senior members of staff greet or acknowledge another person.

But maybe this is just how Japanese corporate culture works. Ever since I started running in Japan, I've been getting used to how Japanese running culture works. I don't know about the running culture in every country, but where I've run in New Zealand, Australia and the U.K., it's an unwritten rule that you greet people you run past — especially if they're facing you, and especially if they're a fellow runner. In Japan, the Japanese for "Good morning," is just a little too long when I'm running out of breath, so I've resorted to flashing my palm in a sort of chest-high salute.

It's always interesting to see which runners will acknowledge me back. However, being ignored does hurt. I wonder why some runners choose to snub others, especially when it's just the two of you who are crazy enough to be running in the middle of winter at 5.30 a.m. Let's face it, running isn't the most sociable of sports, nor is it a particularly fun one. So a little friendly encouragement is always welcome.

Earlier in October, a friend experienced some unexpected encouragement during one of her runs in Osaka. While running past two gentlemen having a cigarette break, they broke into impromptu cheers and applause. My friend raised a triumphant fist — Rocky style — in response and felt the spring return to her step.

I'm thinking about evolving my hand salutes. I'd like every runner running towards me to give me their biggest and best highfive as they run past. Because in work and in life, a small greeting goes a long way. And if all it takes is a little acknowledgement to encourage others, it's time we all gave it a go.



The Japan Times ST: November 13, 2015

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版