THE LAST TIME I was in Tokyo, I made an excursion to the Nihonbashi branch of Takashimaya, 8233.TO -0.10% a chain of department stores founded in 1831, because a friend told me to ride the elevators. Architecturally, the elevators aren’t anything special—the building dates to 1933, and it looks like other grand department stores from that era. But it’s staffed by employees so attentive and polite that they transform the act of moving between floors from a mundane, even annoying, task into a pageant of ritualized courtesy.
How Japan Has Perfected Hospitality Culture
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