Thursday, December 8, 2011

Will Miss #395 - elevator girls

She turned her back because I was taking her picture.

Back when I first came to Japan, every department store had an elevator operator who pushed the buttons for you with her immaculate white gloved hands. She was polite and carried out her work as if she were shepherding small children safely to school through perilous lands rather than helping middle-aged housewives spend their husband's paychecks in overpriced shops. These days, there are far fewer of these women because of the economic downturn. Those that remain not only look after the elevator traffic, but stand outside and provide seminars on how to ride the elevators via microphone (as the woman pictured above is doing).

Though there are elevator operators in other countries (and possibly even young women in similar attire), I doubt I'll see ones like these in the U.S. when I go home, and I'm certain they won't be standing outside providing instructions for customers on how to operate something as simple as an elevator. I'll miss the particular manner in which elevator girls in Japan do their job.