Friday, August 6, 2010

To tip or not to tip

One of the things that can make temporary visitors or even longer term visitors a bit confused in Japan is that there is always exceptions to any unwritten rule. Usually you won't really know those exceptions until they happen and a Japanese person who knows proper etiquette is around (which is not necessarily everyone) .

I can give you a concrete example here and something that I myself brought up about a year ago (post here). Basically Japan is a no tipping country and the stuff I wrote about it earlier is not wrong in principle, but then comes the exceptions… It should be noted that the exceptions are pretty rare and can be difficult for Japanese people, as well to know when and how much should be tipped. During my time in Japan , I have come across two exceptions so far, I'm sure there are more out there that I have just plain missed or not yet encountered:

  • Tipping to the bridal salon after the wedding – Amount depends on services rendered, but if a dress for the bride, tux for the groom and some kimono dressing etc. for other family members was done, this could climb up to ~$500 dollars

  • Tipping to the moving company - After moving reasonable amounts (a single person smaller household is ok not to tip) furniture from point A to point B – Amount is flexible and depending on distance as well, but a minimum of $10 per person involved in the moving (hey, at least they deserve enough for a couple of beers after moving all the stuff about)

Oh and yes, please make sure you give them the money in a fancy envelope so it doesn’t feel like you’re tipping them!


Fernando said...

They must never know you are tipping them, maybe bribe but never tip!

Corinne said...

Lucky for me I've never had a wedding (despite being married) or used a moving company! (despite moving twice)
I find tradesmen etiquette annoying here, at home, if you give them a glass of juice you're like the saint of all customers, but here it's 10am morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, plus drinks!? And it all has to come well presented on a freaking tray, not liking it at all!

Mr. Salaryman said...

Fernando - Yeah, maybe I should call it "bribe" instead, has a bit of better ring to it. Anyone can tip, but to bribe takes som skill!

Corinne - Yeah, and some small stupid cookies and shit, but on the other hand you'll get brownie points for "understanding Japanese culture" if you do it properly!

Climate Morio said...

Dang. I just moved on Monday, but read this only today. I am sure the moving people will firebomb me or something.

David said...

And if you stay in a ryokan, you customarily leave a tip---though it is not called a tip---with the nakia-san.

jlpt2kyu said...

We had an army of about 8 guys do our moving last year, but I didn't know this stuff and didn't tip them or juice them. They seemed to survive, although like your photo above they did stink almighty.

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