No tipping in Japan

Dannychoo talked about tipping in Japan compared with tips in the USA a while ago. In Japan you don’t need to tip, it’s easy compared with the United States system where you have to be always calculating tips. They should include the calculation in the receipt! I hate that even when you pay with credit card you have to be calculating the tip.

In Japan the “tip” is supposed to be included in the price. Once, I forgot one yen from the change, and when I was crossing the street I saw the guy from the shop following me to give me my yen! I learned the lesson. You could think that not having tips would make the costumer service worse than in other places, but it’s just the contrary. Costumer service in Japan is the best in the world. They treat you like a king, they are always doing reverences to you, smily faces everywhere, they always ask you about everything before proceeding, they use honorific language to talk to clients etc. The best customer service and no tips, I love it 🙂

18 Comments
  • Yuho

    November 28, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Kinda funny, in our cold Finland there is no need to give tips either, but then again our shop assistants are not worshipping us, it’s maybe more like they treat us as if we were friends.

  • Karisu

    November 28, 2007 at 7:14 am

    You clearly show how much you don’t understand tipping in America. You don’t have to calculate anything. They say that 15% is about what you should give, but after going out to eat more than a few times its an easy no brainer to just know how much to give depending on the price.

    Bill’s $15? Leave $3. $30? Leave $5 $60? Leave around $10.

    There is no math involved, you just get a feel for what you should tip. I use to be a waiter myself, It’s not rocket science. Most people could wrap their heads around leaving an appropriate amount of money for the bill and service given.

  • James

    November 28, 2007 at 7:35 am

    I once ordered curry delivery from Coco Ichi, and when the guy came, I didn’t have exact change and paid 5 yen more than the cost of the meal. The delivery guy didn’t have any 5 yen coins on him, and he told me he would come back as soon as possible to give me my change. I told him it wasn’t necessary, but he insisted, and 20 minutes later he came back on his delivery motorcycle to rang my doorbell and give me a 5 yen coin!

  • sheerblade

    November 28, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Wow I didn’t think the customer service in Japan was that good. It beats the “It’ll get there when it gets there” or “I guess you’re just screwed” then mentality of U.S. Customer Services.

  • Marie

    November 28, 2007 at 10:30 am

    I sometimes let taxi drivers, delivery guys or cable installation guys keep the change. Many have accepted. The Japanese usually refuse three times, after this they usually accept. It’s the same when you’re deciding who will pay a meal, or if being given a present. I think…

  • Secondbestcurler

    November 28, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Japan has the right idea. Here in Australia – no one tips. Ever. I have never seen anyone tip, no one asks for a tip, no one gets angry that they don’t get a tip. We just don’t tip. In fact, tipping is often seen as either:

    1) Insulting – you’re basically saying that the person you are tipping is poor
    2) Stupidity – because you are giving away money that needs to be spent on your family

    That’s how most Australians see it – although we are generous people, we don’t see the need to give money to someone for doing their job. We give money to people who need it, like sick kids. Often stores will have a little box for a UNICEF or Oxfam where you can put your small change. Better than tipping

  • Jeff

    November 28, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Karisu is right about tipping becoming natural. It doesn’t mean I like doing it though. If I’m at a place I attend frequently and I receive bad service, I still feel obligated to tip at least 15%. Waiters talk to one another, and I don’t want to be the one getting the food that fell on the floor. Some may laugh, but it does happen…

    It was so much easier in Japan. You know exactly what it costs to eat instead of trying to guess the total bill.

  • Brad

    November 29, 2007 at 7:24 am

    I remember working At Starbucks in Sydney and all the American tourists would be giving me AU$20 tips! One man gave me AU$50! I couldn’t really believe it!

    Aussies in general though are tipping more and more. That’s why there are tip jars.

    Concerning Japan’s service… I don’t know. The things you listed above equally annoy me. The habit of checking every bit of information with you? ANNOYING!

    Me: 1 latte please.

    Barista: Okay, 1 latte. Is that 1 latte?

    Me: Yes, 1 latte.

    Barista: 1 latte.

    Me: Yes…. 1 latte!!!

    It takes forever but they still do it even when there’s a line of 20 people. People always rave about the fast service in Japan but I find it about three times slower than service in Australia.

    The polite Japanese also annoys me as even when I make it understood that I don’t understand keigo (polite Japanese) they refuse to speak natural common Japanese! The keigo also takes twice as long to say as regular Japanese and thus also makes the service slower than what I’d like.

    Yeah, they treat you like a king… but’s it’s REALLY fake. Wherein Australia if a waiter treats you well it’s because he’s really wants to treat you well. It’s genuine. In Japan only about 30% of the time will you get genuine friendly service.

  • sheerblade

    November 29, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Heh Brad, I’m fine with fake friendly as long as my drink is being poured by an unbelievably cute maid who later says “Here is your drink Master.”

  • Brad

    November 30, 2007 at 8:38 am

    Good luck getting that kind of service back home, sheerblade! 😉 Haha.

  • AS

    December 1, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Tipping in America usually depends on the service, unless the tip is already included in the bill (usually for big parties of 8 people). Tipping can be viewed as silly by others but in America it’s a standard and is sometimes to show how much you appreciate the service you received. Generally better service means better tips.
    @Karisu: quite the high tipper aren’t you? 16- 20% is quite a lot, especially if you receive crappy service.

  • theshadow99

    December 3, 2007 at 6:26 am

    When in college I had a very simple tipping system… $1 if it was poor or just ‘ok’ service, $2 if it was good service, $5 if I wanted the waitresses phone number… Though I didn’t get many of those… ^_^

    Though in college I only ever spent $7-15 per meal (the higher end being for 2 people).

    Having said that waiters/waitresses in the US are paid crap… They make like $3/hour, minimum wage is much higher than that (by about $5/hour currently). Tips are expected to make up the difference on a per hour basis… And to bad for you if it doesn’t…

  • Karisu

    December 3, 2007 at 10:14 am

    @AS

    Well, certainly if I receive either exceptionally good service or exceptional bad service, that will also effect the tip, but as a general rule, on average, the tipping scale I listed above is what I go by.

  • Gololo

    December 3, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Hehe, I learnt the lesson the same way. I payed a meal of 580 yen with 600 yen in coins. And I left the restaurant. Back at home, the owner would understand I liked the service and he would keep the 20 extra yen. But the 50 yo owner of the restaurant, chased me to give me my 20 yen.

    In the same restaurant, a couple of weeks later, I was given extra money in the change. Around 200 yen. My Japanese is far too basic, but after 5 minutes, I made myself understood and the owner took the extra 200 yen. She didn’t stop thanking untill i was far far away in the street. haha

    Now, she is always smiling when I come by and order my Maguro-don setto 😀

  • Brad

    December 4, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    The thing about including the tip in the bill is just arrogant as far as I’m concerned. Seriously. It’s assuming your customers are happy with your service and willing to give you money.

    Including it in the bill would make me NOT want to give a tip.

  • Chrispy

    December 9, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    Well heres a lil story I had here in Tsuruoka.. Yamagata Prefecture. I purchased some American Spirit brand cigarettes from a vending machine and my cigs did not drop, so I left a paper message on the door of the vending shop and after they called me, they came to my door the next day with the cigarettes, a lighter and 340 yen… so I got one pack for free. I see this as going out of their way to keep us (the consumers) happy! What a nice system it is here! Customer comes before the merchant! I like it!

  • Jason Gatewood

    December 20, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    The thing about tipping here in america is that you gotta do it unless the service is REALLY bad. Restaraunts only pay wait staff about half minimum wage ($2.75 most places) because it is expected that the other half and more will be made up in tips. The restarants got outta having to pay a full wage for years because of them lobbying congress so they don’t have to pay a lot in payroll taxes and operating costs. Meanwhile we mostly expect that a $20 meal here will be more like $24 with the tip included.

    I like the Japanese system better though– I hate calculating tips in my head, and would just rather pay what I owe. I also know the average Japanese citizen is crazy honest– For example when I tried to give the pizza delivery guy a 500 yen tip to compensate for my horrible pronunciation of my address over the phone that caused him to be in the next Chome (address block) from mine, He insisted it was his fault for writing it down wrong (I know it wasn’t; as soon as I hung up I knew I might have pronounced something wrong–I just assumed they’d call back for clarification) He then gave me a free order coupon for next time… Man I love Japan. Contrast that to Pizza Hut down the street from me here in the States– I can literally SEE the store from one window here, and they still manage to deliver my food cold half the time!

  • Ryan

    March 9, 2011 at 8:50 am

    tips around the world is weird here in England it is optional, you usually give them if you were happy with the service.