In many countries it is customary to receive tips for a charged service, but in Japan this can be considered even a lack of respect. For this reason we will understand the whole story of why you should not tip in Japan.
In Japan, tipping can be considered offensive. Service sector professionals, including taxi drivers, waiters, as well as salespeople and employees in hotels, stores or any commercial establishment in the country, generally refuse to receive tips.
The history of tipping in the world did not affect Japan
For those who are unaware, tipping is an extra fee you pay someone for your services. In Brazil we kind of feel obliged to tip, since in the restaurants themselves they put a percentage of 10% on the bill to the waiter.
Do you know the story of how tips came about? In Rome it was common to reward a porter with a glass of wine. It's even funny that the name bribes came from that tradition, where the drink was called - propinare.
Then, for convenience, people were given money to buy their own drink. In Eastern society, on the other hand, there was a rigid hierarchy, where those from the "upper classes" thought they owed nothing to the "lower classes".
Tipping is an action to show your gratitude to kindness or sympathy for you. The Japanese don't think tipping is a good way to do this. If you receive money as a compensation for your goodness, it devalues your goodness. The Japanese like to do things without expecting any compensation.
Japan is not the only country that rejects tips. China and some other countries in Asia have also inherited the same culture, while other countries are not in the habit of receiving tips because the salary of employees is quite high or the fee is already included in the total.
Pride, respect, education and ethics
One of the many characteristics of Japanese culture is a very strong loyalty to the employer, as well as a pride in employment and work in general. From this perspective, tipping undermines the employer's efforts and, in doing so, makes the whole case unworthy of the wait staff.
They are very proud of this, mainly for the simple reason. “The service you requested was charged properly, so why pay more? ”They see it as a form of insult, so be careful not to do this!
In addition, even if you tip, the service provider will not accept your money, and will refund the extra amount accordingly, for education and ethics. You will rarely see someone accepting a tip over there, but it is better not to risk it, let alone try to tip.
Without the habit of leaving money in hand
Most Japanese restaurants require customers to pay for their meals at the front desk, rather than leaving money with the waiter or waitress. This kind of disfavors the chances of a waiter getting a tip.
Of course, the main reason for this is hygiene. Generally, in cashiers, you do not deliver money directly to the person, the money is placed in a container to avoid contact between the customer and the cashier. Everything in order to please the customer.
Leaving money in a glass or on the table will only cause embarrassment and cause an attendant to run after you in the middle of the street to hand back the money you forgot. The money is likely to fall into the hands of the police if he doesn't find you.
How to thank someone without a tip?
Since most people in Japan do not receive tips, how can you thank them for a service? There are several ways to say thanks with words or actions:
Saying thank you, arigatou (ありがとう) - The best way to thank yourself in these situations is to say a simple thank you! In Japan, the thank you has a much greater meaning, where you will be thanking and saying that you liked the service provided, sometimes even a nod will be worth it.
Praising the service provided - For a Japanese, nothing will be better than being praised for his work. This is also a matter of honor, as in the case of ramen, where making noise while eating means that you like the dish. So, in addition to saying thank you, remember to praise the service provided and also say how satisfied you were!
Sincerity - This is one of the most important points, the Japanese like sincerity, so also be sincere. Do not say something that is not true, because if you tell the truth he will try to improve and do not worry, the provider will not be offended, but grateful. So, sincerity always!
Gifts - If the person has done a lot for you, they can certainly accept some gift. Any gift in Japan must be given in an envelope or package. Often the person will thank you and open it only at home.
Money in Envelope - If you insist on leaving money with someone, don’t give it directly to them. If you are in a hotel or restaurant, leave the envelope on the table when you leave. Still, this is quite an exaggerated act.
Can I change tip in Japan?
In Brazil it is common not to receive a penny from a purchase of 1.99. If this happens in Japan and you leave the store without getting a penny change, the lady will run after you to deliver that penny.
That’s right, in markets and convenience stores, they will deliver you up to a measly yen in return. If you don’t want to be carrying dozens of yen coins, you can leave them in a donation box that you usually have in some establishments.
It's not unusual to round up money for a taxi ride. Sometimes the ride was 2600 yen, you can hand over 3000 and tell the taxi driver to keep change. They may be hesitant, but generally they will accept, especially if you have carried luggage.
Kokorozuke - Closest to Tips
Contrary to popular belief, there are times and places where tipping is practiced. Generally, a tip, known as kokorozuke [心付け], is provided before the service is performed. It was described as part of one of the greeting rituals.
Usually, but not always, Kokorozuke money is delivered in a small envelope; not in the elaborate envelopes that are common at weddings or funerals. Kokorozuke envelopes are simple and generally small.
The kokorozuke that most people know about is the one used in ryokans or luxury onsens. This is given to nakai-san (中居), which shows your room. That person will be responsible for one or more rooms and it is their job to organize and store things during their stay.
This person usually shows up in his room, arranges the meal, cleans up after the meal and arranges the bedding. Usually the amount provided in the envelope is 1000 yen. Remembering that it is unusual to hand money directly.
Another common kokorozuke is during the race for the wedding. Kokorozuke is often given to several people involved in the production of the event. This is not the amount required by guests at a wedding, which is common in Japan.
It is also common to deliver money in an envelope if a large group frequents a restaurant or bar. It is also common to deliver money in the envelope to the removal team before lunch, as if it were lunch money.
Situations where tips can be tipped in Japan
Remember that even if money in an envelope accepted, it is far from necessary or expected. Some guides and groups that do excursions can sometimes accept tips, especially if the group is from foreigners.
Some guides are used to foreigners and do not have this influence of Japanese culture. The same can happen if you are served by a Japanese in another country, sometimes he does not follow the same custom as Japan.
It is worth remembering that Japan is becoming more and more Westernized, so some do not mind accepting tips. Still, keep in mind that Japanese people don’t like to accept tips. Avoid this, even if you feel like rewarding it. This will prevent the 2 from being embarrassed.