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Arama They Didn't

10:32 pm - 05/13/2013

Saudi Arabian Reporter Floored by Things Japanese Take for Granted



The Saudi Arabian television program Hawatel Kaizen (a combination of the Arabic word for “thoughts” and the Japanese for “improvement”) is a series of reports by Arabic reporters in which they share things they have been impressed by in Japan. A Japanese TV show in turn did a feature on Hawatel Kaizen, in which the panel of Japanese TV personalities were amused by the enthusiastic responses of Saudi reporter, Ahmad, to things Japanese citizens take for granted.

So in an effort to be as international as possible, RocketNews24 brings you an English recap of a Japanese TV program reacting to another program in which a Saudi Arabian reporter reacts to Japan.



Ahmad begins his report at the 0:30 mark by commenting, “Japan is a densely populated country, so its people have developed many ways to effectively use what limited space they have.” Ahmad was particularly moved by what he saw at an ordinary (for Japan) parking tower: a floor section that carousels the car around to make entrance and exit easier.

“Having to work the steering wheel back and forth to pull into a narrow space can be very difficult, so the Japanese came up with the idea of rotating the ground underneath it instead! It’s amazing that such a thing exists in this world,” Ahamd gushes, before the first of several times in the video he exclaims, “Sugoi!" (Japanese for “amazing”).

Next, Ahmad pays a visit to a Japanese elementary school. Even before he arrives, something catches his eye at 1 minute and 30 seconds into the clip.

“Look at the woman across the street! She uses that yellow flag to stop traffic so the children can cross safely! In Saudi Arabia, children have to cross dangerous, busy roads all by themselves, but in Japan, people are so concerned for their safety that they even use these yellow flags when there are no cars around.”

When Ahmad reaches the school, he immediately finds something of note in the building’s entranceway. “Look! The children take their shoes off here and put them into cubby holes, then change into a separate pair of shoes that’s kept clean by being worn only indoors. Each student has a designated place for their footwear, which keeps everything neat and tidy.”

▼ Shoes neatly lined up in cubby holes at a school in Japan.


The video then cuts to Ahmad in Saudi Arabia, where, exasperated by the unruly pile of shoes in front of a mosque, he implores the caretaker to line them up neatly on a set of shelves instead.

Jump to the 3 minute and 30 second mark of the video, Ahmad finally observes a Japanese elementary school lesson being taught. “Every single time the students get up from their seats, they always push their chairs in! It’s wonderful! Even from such a young age, they understand the importance of following the rules and keeping things orderly.”

Ahmad then enters an extended talk about the many small ways people in Japan show consideration for each other, starting with his experiences at a gas station at the 5:00 mark. “When pumping gas, the attendants use two cloths. They put the first one under the nozzle, so that if any gas drips out it won’t get on the customer’s car. But what’s even more impressive is the second one, which they use as a cushion so that the hose won’t scratch the car’s body. And when the pumping is finished and the customer is leaving, the staff goes into the street and stops traffic to make it easier for him to pull out. Sugoi!

▼ A gas station employee bowing to a customer driving away.


Next, Ahmad visits a Japanese department store on a rainy day. Much like his trip to the elementary school, he’s not even all the way into the building before he finds something amazing. “Naturally, your umbrella gets wet when you use it in the rain, so the Japanese created this device! You stick your umbrella in the opening, and it wraps it in a plastic cover to keep the floors from getting wet and dirty. This is true consideration for others! Sugoi!

▼ An plastic umbrella cover dispenser.


The next stop is a Japanese park, where the reporter is impressed by the complete absence of litter. “Everyone takes their trash home with them! Look at this bench. It’s like no one was ever here!” At the 7:00 mark, Ahmad sees a group of visitors pick up a pile of now inedible candy they spilled and proclaims it nothing short of a miracle.

Searching for the root of this thoughtfulness, Ahmad returns to the elementary school, where he observes the students performing cleaning duties, as is standard in Japan where schools don’t employ janitors. “The unbelievable thing is that the children seem to be enjoying themselves as they clean together! And look at how they get down on their hands and knees to clean the floors. When even cleaning is done with such humility, it’s no wonder that they grow up to be kind, considerate adults.”

Armed with this knowledge, Ahmad returns to Saudi Arabia and makes an appeal to education minister Prince Faisal to let him try a student cleaning project in the country. For two months the students at a Saudi elementary school take on the responsibilities of cleaning their own classrooms. Many of their parents remark that the program has made the children more willing to help around the house as well. Prince Faisal was so pleased with the results that Ahmad’s program has now been expanded to a total of 640 schools.

Sugoi, Ahmad! Sugoi!

Source

I just thought this was an interesting article. I don't really have a gif to convey my feelings/opinion about this so here's a gratuitous Matsujun gif.

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arashicraze 14th-May-2013 04:34 am (UTC)
we also don't have anything like this here in U.S. maji desuyo!
mizakiwa 14th-May-2013 04:47 am (UTC)
It's really cool how he got the program to spread! I wish schools in the U.S. were like that. I wouldnt mind cleaning the classroom and such. When I was in HS I really hated it when my friends would just leave their trash on the lunch table though. Like, what's so hard about picking it up and throwing it away on your way out?! I would be the one to throw their garbage away for them in the end.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
ale_irenear 14th-May-2013 04:57 am (UTC)
Japanese are indeed amazing.. I'd love to live there~ jaja
baka_neko3 14th-May-2013 04:59 am (UTC)
back in those days, in my school we have a duty roaster for kids to clean their classroom... and sometimes the school will organized cleaning projects of other parts of the school or even some nearby public places.... it was a normal gig over here, but i don't know.. these days, not as frequent as during my time yonks ago (and no, am NOT telling how many years ago it was!!)..
bumie 14th-May-2013 05:17 am (UTC)
I watched Kawater "this Saudi show" maybe 3 years ago and season 5 was all about Japan and it was the best season.
if anyone interested in watching more of it go and youtube this " خواطر 5 "
there is like 27 eps but in arabic.
megamisama_ann 14th-May-2013 05:32 am (UTC)
I got goosebumps. Japan is amazing. Indeed!
sandster101 14th-May-2013 06:14 am (UTC)
That umbrella cover dispenser!!
blancintrigure 14th-May-2013 06:15 am (UTC)
my japanese lecturer also noted the same thing about japanese pump station services. he said exactly the same thing. about how considerate the worker there and how they would bow when customer is leaving. sugoii ne?
helios_spade 14th-May-2013 07:13 am (UTC)
What Ahmad did was really commendable.
I thought he was only exposing these cultures, but the fact that he took one home and be proactive about it is admirable.
Kudos~
hpswf1 14th-May-2013 07:49 am (UTC)
We cleaned our classroom, too. It was even fun xD But never liked clean up at home xD
At the end of school year we cleaned whole school, each class got some part. But my school had janitors.
baka_neko3 14th-May-2013 08:46 am (UTC)
my school have janitors too, but we still have to do it, you know... we even have our own duty roster and we make it all pretty and hang it on our classroom wall...

and at one time, because some students are lazy (for example they didn't flush the toilet after use or throw rubbish everywhere in the toilet), our teacher make a new rule, each class have their own toilet (not whole toilet, but one stall in the toilet) and we are responsible for the cleanliness of our own toilet.. so we had to clean it ourselves and keep it clean... the girls even go as far as buying our own favourite perfume and spray inside the toilet.. LOL

it was like a contest, for bragging purposes only... especially girls, we get really competitive... we even decorate our classroom... my favourite theme was when i was 16, the whole class was black & pink... it was awesome!
cast0shadow 14th-May-2013 07:50 am (UTC)
haha Ahmad! I was in Japan two months ago and my friends and I basically had the same expressions on our faces permanently LOL. they really do think of everything, it's amazing.
asth77 14th-May-2013 08:01 am (UTC)
When I was in Junior High School, we used to clean the classroom as well. 2 or 3 poeple had to do it for 1 week.I went to a school in Japan and a classroom, it was weird when I took off my shoes lol
yami_no_hoshi 14th-May-2013 08:08 am (UTC)
The next stop is a Japanese park, where the reporter is impressed by the complete absence of litter. “Everyone takes their trash home with them! Look at this bench. It’s like no one was ever here!” this is especially impressive to me because it's hard to find garbage bins in Japan! I've had to hang on to my trash for a while sometimes because I just don't see them as frequently.
exdream1999 14th-May-2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
Y'all need to swing by the local neighborhoods during garbage collection days, if people don't put the net over the garbage bags right the crows get into it and there's garbage all over the street until the collectors come.

And yeah, people really do caring their garbage home, or until they find the nearest conbini with garbage cans. At first it annoyed me, but now I don't even think it strange anymore.
koichiko 14th-May-2013 11:10 am (UTC)
Interesting article, I was just wondering:

Isn't there something wrong with the title? "Taking for granted" kind of sounds as if they expect others to do the same things in other countries too.
More like "Saudi Arabian Reporter Floored by Things that in Japan go without a saying" or something like that.
I don't know why but "taking for granted" kind of sounds so negative.
icecoveredheart 14th-May-2013 08:22 pm (UTC)
"go without saying" and "taken for granted" aren't that different, you know?

And when you see the shocked expressions on Tokoro George's face and the others watching at his surprised comments, you can see that it is kinda taken for granted.
ofs1992 14th-May-2013 11:11 am (UTC)
ah yes especially cleanliness in my home country. i absolutely detest people who have no discipline and this feeling gets worse everytime i travel to other countries and see them so clean and beautiful
kahlias 14th-May-2013 12:12 pm (UTC)
I also had the same feeling
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