What can we learn from one of the biggest cities on the planet?
The capital of Japan, Tokyo, is a bustling metropolis which sprawls endlessly. Compromised of mostly low to medium built architecture, Tokyo presents itself as a concrete jungle. Over the years, enbiun has been visiting Tokyo, to observe its service culture, food fanatics and architectural wonders. We have sifted through years of material to present a selection of 5 lessons we can learn.
Plants make us happy and productive. They also help to keep our environments healthy and beautiful. The Japanese have a long history of gardening, that expresses itself in beautiful teahouse gardens and landscaping. The same sensitivity for composition and planting can be found in modern iterations. Greenery isn't decoration; it's as important as the structural foundation; it should be a designed aspect of a complete plan.
Beyond service, Omotenashi
Service in Japan is famous for going the extra mile. Whether you're in a metro station buying a ticket or in a high-end restaurant, the service is always great and considerate. But why is it so good? One of the foundations is based on 'Omotenashi,' which is the Japanese ideology on service. A very short summary would be in these three rules:
- Anticipating needs of others
- Being selfless towards others
- Being considerate of those around you
Rarely you would see a restaurant or cafe that specializes in more than one cuisine or thing. Focus is of utmost importance to create quality. Japanese food is subtle, and the devil is in the details. Chefs spend ages perfecting broths, frying techniques, and rice cooking. This results in an abundance of really great restaurants in every nook and cranny of Tokyo's streets. Small super focused restaurants with 12 seats and a small staff create food experiences that are unique and super tasty.
Great food and excellent service isn't lost on deaf ears in Japan. We were amazed at the number of magazines dedicated to food and drinks in shops. Hyper focused magazines about coffee culture, bread baking, and ramen proliferated on new stands. We even saw a baking magazine dedicating pages and pages to the dimensions of the perfect loaf of bread from each baker in Tokyo. The Japanese are connaisseurs, they're interested to know more behind the dish they're enjoying. Creating fans of food starts with education and talking about food beyond the surface.
Shopping is really an experience
We seem to talk about it a lot in the west, 'experiential' shopping. Rarely this comes to fruition as something profitable or meaningful for both entrepreneur or consumers. In Tokyo, shopping is a part of daily life, as much as a daily commute is. Shopping malls and areas are often linked to public transport stations, so you can conveniently shop while going home from work. The lack of public space like parks gives shopping another dimension, a more social one. Retail spaces are crafted for comfort, with immense detail, like little jewel boxes. These jewel boxes are often adorned with coffee bars, food outlets and lush seating areas. The most successful ones were the most delicate, where there was no screaming commerce but a subtle message and quiet service. Creating a space where you want to be, and are comfortable to hang out creates conversion to buying goods eventually.
Read our other forecast article, The Aesthetics of Control. Markets and needs are constantly changing, the want for new things is getting more immediate with each passing moment. In our trending topics we discuss and evaluate what we see and how we interpret this.