Latest example of great customer service in Japan comes in response to visiting journalist’s call for help.

Japanese companies have a well-deserved reputation for outstanding customer service, and that includes the nation’s convenience stores. So when 7-Eleven Japan caught wind that visiting Canadian sports journalist Anastasia Bucsis, who’s in Tokyo covering the Olympics, was at a loss about how to open their onigiri (rice ball) wrappings, the company’s sense of vendor responsibility and cultural hospitality kicked in.

So two days after Bucsis tweeted that she’d gotten into 7-Eleven’s onigiri in terms of enthusiasm, but was having a tough time physically getting into them, the convenience store’s official account posted a tweet for the benefit of her and other hungry foreign visitors, with a video demonstration of how to open the triangular wrappings.

Though the video itself is dialogue-free, the tweet’s accompanying text is bilingual, in Japanese and English, stating:

“Today, we would like to introduce how to open a package film of rice ball for the customers who are visiting Japan from overseas.”

Of course, if you’re a loyal SoraNews24 reader, you already knew how to open the onigiri wrapping, since even before 7-Eleven’s official video, we’d already created an unofficial one (in which you can also see what happens if the person unwrapping the onigiri happens to be absolutely starving when they take that first bite). Still, this is definitely a thoughtful and caring move by 7-Eleven, and some Japanese Twitter commenters felt like they could use a refresher course.

“We’ve had this kind of packaging since I was a kid, but I think whoever came up with it is a genius.”
“Even some of us Japanese people sometimes make a mess opening them.”
“I always end up crushing some of the nori seaweed wrapping by accident.”
“It’s confusing how the presenter keeps turning the rice ball around while she’s opening it.”

The video’s full rotations of the rice ball area little disorienting, since you don’t really need to alter your grip so dramatically to get the wrapping off. On the other hand, for onigiri newcomers, those different angles help show what’s going on at different positions of the wrapping during the process. A few commenters also mentioned that they like to leave the wrapping on the last corner as they eat, so that they don’t have to directly touch the onigiri with their hands before putting it in their mouth (although if it’s going in your mouth anyway, touching it doesn’t seem like it’d present any significant hygiene issue, as long as you’re not eating with dirty, unwashed hands).

While the muscle motions can be a little tricky at first, it doesn’t take long to get used to them, and just like riding a bike, once you get the hang of opening an onigiri wrapping, it’s a skill you’ll never forget, just like you won’t forget how good they taste.

Source: Twitter/@711SEJ via Hachima Kiko
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