Involving the customer in service
As labour gets increasingly expensive, in the service industry in Japan, there are ways to involve the customer.
Self service ordering of food via vending machine.
Take your own water, cutlery and tray.
Some of the hotels have big bottles of toiletries but no disposable lotion. For that, you go to the communal baths, albeit designed beautifully and using good quality stuff.
Here in Pan de Pan bakery at Lake Akan, toast your bread, sort out your rubbish and return tray.
Plus eco friendly decor like this tree with wood shavings as leaves.
There is a free hot spring for your feet just outside the Bakery.
For work-life balance, the cafe is closed on Monday and Wednesday. Opened from 830am to 630pm.
I love the bitter caramel puff which cost 220 Yen and the pumkin danish 80 Yen. The delicious cakes are 380 Yen each. You can eat in or take out.
Self check in and out at the Richmond Hotel in Obihiro. (The male reception was very helpful and did it for me. But I later realised when I saw a Japanese guest work the machine. )
Japan is still a highly service oriented culture. The Cashier at the supermarket does not give out free plastic bags. Cost about 3 Yen each. But she will pack your items neatly into the basket as she scans their price code.