Japanese Service at its Best
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend a luncheon sponsored by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (more on the lecture and English-language issues in another post). The lecture was in one of the beautiful banquet rooms at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in the Akasaka section of Tokyo.
Before the lecture I had met with my writing group and I was carrying a pink, leather-bound portfolio with my notes, and story drafts in it. It also had the drafts of my group members. Of course in my excitement after the lecture and meeting the speaker, I left the portfolio at my seat in the banquet room.
I realized my error a few days later when I went to correct my drafts. I called the hotel and they connected me to an English speaking manager, Hosokawa-san. Hosokawa-san asked if he could go look for the portfolio and call me back, which was, of course, fine. He called within ten minutes, telling me he had the portfolio.
My plan for the day involved grocery shopping, so I had the car with me. Parking in Tokyo is no easy feat, so unless I’m going somewhere that I know has a parking lot, I walk or take the train. To me, it’s not worth the stress of finding parking. So I told Hosokawa-san that I would be coming by car, and he assured me that I could drive up to the hotel with no problem, and leave the car for the few minutes that it would take to get the portfolio.
I drove up to the hotel, right where guests get dropped off by taxi drivers. Upon exiting the car tentatively, the bell hop rushed toward me, saying, “Mrs. Aimee? Are you Mrs. Aimee?” Clearly he had been warned of my arrival and ushered me inside, assuring me that he would watch the car, and asking me to leave the keys just in case. I did as I was told.
Inside, the concierge called Hosokawa-san, who hurried to the front, with my portfolio neatly wrapped in an ANA shopping bag. I signed for the “lost and found” item, took my bag and went on my way, thanking the bell hop, as I got back into my car.
The entire enterprise took under ten minutes, and I was on my way to the grocery store. No one would take a monetary tip from me.
The ANA will get my business in the future if I have any needs for a hotel. I always love living here, but there are days when I really adore living in Japan and admire the service-oriented culture very much. This was one of them.
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