Tokyo Department Stores Have an Opening Ritual (VIDEO)

Tokyo Department Stores Have an Opening Ritual (VIDEO)

AkihabaraNews Special Contributor Jordan Yerman, Fujifilm X-T1 test unit in hand, is currently on urban safari here in Tokyo, stalking parks and alleyways in search of the finest urban felines the big, big city has to offer. It seems he’s also spending his morning hours staking out department stores!

Japanese department stores take customer service very seriously.

Up in Adachi-ku, the managers at the 0101 Kita-Senju Marui make sure everything is in order. Finishing touches are applied. Crossing the てs and dotting the... かs.

The managers then bow to each other and line up facing the front doors. They bow to the customers waiting to shop. They then open the doors and greet everyone who enters. It’s a fascinating ritual that I encountered by chance last time I was in Japan, and was happy to experience again.

The kids in the video don’t give a rhymes-with-duck, though: they just want to race up the escalators to Tokyu Hands and get their hands on those dinosaur-shaped rubber just tuning out from core elements of Japanese society: yeah, that was the basic premise of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, but that’s not what’s important right now.

I was going to just film it on my phone, but then remembered I was in the middle of testing the Fujifilm X-T1 with a 10-24mm wide-angle lens. This is AkihabaraNews, so if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. I set the resolution to ultra-fuhgeddaboudit-HD and let ‘er rip.

As this was my very first time using the video function on that particular piece of hardware, the exposure isn’t exactly right: my fault, not the camera’s. That, as well, is not important right now. What is important is this short video giving you a glimpse of one of Tokyo’s countless tiny secrets.

Special Contributor Jordan Yerman is a freelance writer and photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia where he’s the City Affairs and Entertainment Editor for the Vancouver Observer. We’re pretty sure he really likes Japan, and we're pretty sure he's one of the keenest observers of the little things we residents take for granted.

His other AkihabaraNews features include:

Check out his other work and learn about his ongoing Japanese street cats project at