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When people visit Japan, they often marvel at how great the service everywhere is. Trains run on time; a guy pops out of a little hatch like a station ninja when you’re struggling with a ticket vending machine; packages come precisely when they’re supposed to, and even if you miss them you can just call the driver on their mobile phone to arrange a new delivery time.

Day in, day out, stuff just works. And yet, unlike the many foreigners who live here, native Japanese take this all completely in their stride. Take this video, for example, which was taken by a foreigner living and uploaded to YouTube a couple of weeks ago…

On the surface, it’s little more than some high-speed footage of three men repairing a stretch of pavement in suburban Japan. But when you look at the care and attention these men are putting into their work and how neat and tidy they’re keeping the surrounding area throughout, it’s just astounding to watch from a non-Japanese perspective.

As the video’s creator comments, this careful approach to roadwork is not unique to just these men; this is a common sight in Japan. It really makes you wonder why – and I say this as someone who comes from a city where roadworks are often carried out by men who stand around shirtless (trust me, ladies, you’re not missing anything – it’s beer-gut central) or leaning on, rather than using, brooms and shovels – the Japanese seem to take such pride in their work, regardless of its nature.

Sure, there are always exceptions and there are plenty of jokesters among Japan’s workforce, but 99 percent of the time customer service is superb. Clerks in clothing stores carry your purchases to the door for you; gas station attendants, having wiped down your windshield and asked if you have any rubbish to throw away, bow as you pull out onto the road; even the kids at McDonald’s act like they’re being paid $100 an hour to flip burgers and take orders.

What is it about Japan that makes everything run so smoothly? There are so many potential factors at work that it’s impossible to say for certain, but I’d hazard a guess that it’s at least partly because when people take a job here they realise that a) there are plenty of other people who could do it in their stead, and b) it’s, you know, their job.

As outspoken comedian Louis CK says, if you have a job, no matter what it is, you should “do the sh*t out of it.” And that, it would seem, is precisely what the vast majority of people in Japan do. Long may it continue.

▼  So many swears, but Louis CK makes a good point about attitudes to work

Source: YouTube – TheJapanChannelDcom