Equal society? What surprised me as a Japanese

Hello everyone. I’m Sunny, who works for a foreign airline. I was asked a question again today. “Is there a difference between a foreign crew and a Japanese crew?” I will answer.

While working as a CA for a foreign airline, I have often felt the difference between foreign and Japanese crews. This time, I would like to share the differences and interests that I felt through my work.

■Relationships with customers

First of all, I would like to talk about the relationship with the customer that surprised me the most. In Japan, there is a word such as “The customer is God”. I think that manners and language for customers are very highly considered in the service industry.

So, when I was born and raised in Japan, I kept in the mind the words “service industry = hospitality”, and I considered such behavior even on board.

However, I feel that customers and crew are recognized as equal overseas. This is not to say that foreign crews do not have a spirit of hospitality. Working with a foreign crew made me think that we are in a position where we can say NO.

■Customers who don’t like Japanese people

It was a flight to Beijing. And there were four CA’s including me and a full customer in the cabin. Towards the end of the service, I was cleaning up the galley. Then a man came to me and called out to me in Chinese.

However, when I was still a newcomer, I could only hear the minimum amount of Chinese words for services. So I couldn’t understand what the customer was saying at all.

Unfortunately, the other crew were still in the cabin, so I told him in poor Chinese, “Please wait a little bit”, and I was waiting for other crew.

A few minutes later, the crew in charge of economy returned to the galley. When I took over, the man seemed to be saying something while flickering towards me.

Suddenly, the crew switched to a strong tone towards the customer, and the galley turned into a bit of a rugged atmosphere.

After that, the customer returned to the seat with a slightly unconvincing face. So I asked the crew about the situation.

Then she said, “I just said that he was wrong because he knew you were Japanese and said insulting things.”

When I heard that, I thought that no Japanese crew would do the same. With that feeling, I remember being happy with her kindness.

In Japan, I have rarely seen a scene where I tell something to customers in a strong tone.

However, as she said in the above story, I think it is easy to argue against customers overseas regarding discrimination and respect for individuals.

■Attitude toward seniors

Even for customers, there is a high awareness of equality among crew members. Just because I’m a junior, I don’t have a lot of work to do, or I don’t have to take the lead in doing a lot of work.

In Japan, there is a culture of longing for people and seniors. However, when I entered a foreign company, I felt that there was no vertical relationship at all, although there are polite words to the people and seniors.

Even if you have a one-day experience as a crew, you can talk frankly with the parser or captain. So, when I first started working, I was very surprised that I didn’t have to worry so much about human relationships.

And if I don’t agree with the opinions of the senior crew, I feel like I can express a different opinion. Overseas, I feel that everyone often exchanges opinions equally and decides things with respect.

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