The level of respect in America has been dismally low as compared to its counterpart countries in Asia. This is based upon individual interactions and experiences on a daily basis that keep reoccurring, confirming the truth that a fraction of the people in America have hopelessly low respect for each other and others. On an everyday schedule, this may range from talking to the local store owner to communicative body language with drivers on the street. Respect for each other’s property, for each other’s daily goals, and for each other has never been so important in keeping harmony in this increasingly international diverse world.
Notorious for its respect in society, the majority of Japan’s population of people has all attained an insurmountable level of respect for everyone. In shops, every employee greets customers with an enthusiastic “Irrashaimasse!” shouted all in unison.”Irrashaimasse” when translated to English means “Welcome!” The effect really does make customers feel welcome in the restaurant or store. No matter how small or how expensive the store is, the level of enthusiasm is all the same. Even when you don’t buy anything, as you walk out the door, you will be sent out with a hearty “Arigatogozaimasu” which means “Thank you very much!” Even in Taiwan, regardless of whether or not I bought anything, store owners shoot me a warm smile as I walk out the door, and bow their heads saying “Xie xie” which means “Thank you!” Here, I walk out of a store without buying anything, and most of the time, the store owner frowns at me, and I can tell that he/she is thinking, “Why did he come into the store without buying anything?”
Communication on the road is by far the hardest kind of respect to convey to others, undoubtedly because of the enclosed space, the distractions, and the speed. America’s major cities are well known to the world as having no respect whatsoever. People curse at each other, honking their horns and cutting people off. Even in suburban parts of the city, people are no different than the discourteous people of the city. In one incident, I was driving down a congested part of downtown suburbia, when suddenly up ahead, the lanes merged together. When lanes merge together, it is a rule of thumb that as a courtesy, cars from each lane consecutively take turns merging into the lanes. But as I looked to my left, a dodge charger that was suppose to let me merge into his lane, speeds up and totally disregards the safety of others. I ask that completely disrespectful driver, “Where am I supposed to drive to when the lanes are merging and you’re in the way? Perhaps you want me to run into all the pedestrians on the sidewalk or force me to stop so that all the cars behind me rear end me?” From this experience, conclusions can be drawn that the driver of that dodge charger thinks he is better than everyone around him because of what he drives. In this day and age, money and power mean control of the people around you, yet the lesson here is learned that humbleness is a more worthwhile attitude to achieve than pompousness.
As pedestrians, interactions with people are numerous. On the streets of Japan and Taiwan, safety is rarely an issue, while in cities like Detroit and Chicago, stories of people being fatally shot circulate throughout the public every day. Respect for other people’s property is an issue that has been tested by people. To investigate this, researchers first concealed a magnetic tracking signal on a $100 bill and put it on the streets of New York. The bill was taken almost immediately, and stashed away in an inconspicuous pedestrian’s wallet, who later used it at a coffee shop. Then the researchers put the experiment to the test in Tokyo, Japan and executed the exact same thing. Surprisingly, a pedestrian picked up the $100 bill and quickly turned it into the local police station. Now you may say, this is just a coincidence right? But from experience, I can attest to this respect found in the streets. During a trip to Tokyo Disneyland, I lost an expensive camcorder. First thing my family and I did was hurry to the lost and found center. To my amazement, somebody had already returned my camcorder and actually beat us to the lost and found center! Many other times, lost items were returned courteously without tamper, and almost immediately after they were lost. The level of respect for other people’s belongings is unsurpassed in these countries.
Perhaps it is because of our lifestyle that makes a portion of America so disrespectful towards others. Most of us were brought up with the knowledge that it’s a “dog eat dog” world. But it is never too late to start respecting each other if just a little. And from there, respect for everyone around you will undeniably create harmony in an ever increasingly disrespectful and disharmonious world.