One of the first things I noticed about Japan right since I landed at the airport was how wonderful the people were. Every time I visit the convenience store, see a visitor at school, or need to get some paperwork done, each person smiles and greets you. When i go for a walk or jogging in the mornings, I spotted an old woman on the road who smiled and wished me good morning at 5:30am. Whether they know a person or not, they’re really polite and pleasant in the way they talk and interact with whoever they meet, foreigner or local, especially in Karuizawa where I stay. That’s probably what makes most of my Japanese friends who they are-really exciting and interactive, with lots of energy and positivity. It’s also one of the reasons I look forward to going back after my vacations, as everyone is so hospitable.
i didn’t know of such hospitality in India, however. Besides hotels and restaurants where workers are paid to be nice to you, most indians have a single goal they wish to achieve without thinking much of their surrounding people. In general, we also lack curiosity to get to know and interact with each other. With most of the auto or rickshaw rides, bargaining at stores or in buses and shared autos, people just take their places and do what they must, noticing people around them but not greeting him or her. This was so common at even my school in Chennai, when so many of us, including our friends wished each other, but ignored others who went by if we didn’t know them well. At the end of my six years in Harishree, where I’d studied, I recognised the faces I’d seen everyday but hadn’t said hi or introduced myself even once. These also applied for those classmates I’d studied with and spoken to, but hadn’t greeted.
On a deeper sense, Individual countries around the world can’t be blamed for this folly. The country’s environment, facilities and service ultimately impact the lives of each individual person, which tends to blend into the general behaviour of the country’s citizens, which becomes it’s recognisable feature to the rest of the world. Each country’s influence generates a citizen of their country, as the government, people, and country as a whole have facts that make them unique or unusual. India’s a country with so many people in such a rush that no one has the thought or time to greet or interact with someone else. Most people have an ultimate goal to either make more money, get a good rank, grade or job to satisfy themselves. The high incidence of crimes like thefts and violation of women’s rights also make create tension, or suspicion among us. And if by chance, if a stranger or an acquintence does say hi, most of us either don’t take it in the right sense, or impulsively greet them back, without meaning it.
No indian, Japanese, American, or a citizen of any country at all, can be blamed for the way they react and behave around their surrounding people, as this is simply based on what they’ve learnt, experienced and made to believe. There are pros and Cons to every form and way of greeting, adding up to make the world the diverse place it is-influencing the way we behave and act around each other.