Jan. 2019

"zero yen smile"

Japan is well-known for high quality services—you will be surprised how much retail and hotel staff are trained. Every one of them will smile at you, say hello, and thank you. They make you feel welcome.

Some years ago, in some shops, when a customer told a staff "Give me a smile", then he or she would make a smile at the casher. This was called "zero yen smile"; that is, a free smile you can order.

Smile. This is the most basic of basic when you work, make friends and have a good relationship with neighbors. However, sometimes this "smile culture" gives people pressure; not just for retail staff, but also everyone has to smile when on duty. There's even a Japanese idiom "your customer is your God".

Like this, making a smile has both positive and negative sides. In this feature "zero yen smile", we focus on how locals really think and feel about this "smile culture" in Japan. Let's take a look!


fiction, Feb. 2019


Filled with Stars

essay, Feb. 2019


A Lonely Valentine’s Day

interview, Feb. 2019


Katsushika Along the Ganges River

fiction, Feb. 2019


Midnight Convenience Store

essay, Feb. 2019


Wish I Could Say

fiction, Feb. 2019


You Never Change, Right?

essay, Feb. 2019


Unpretty Onigiri