The other day, English Club ran a bit long. When we finished the game, I asked the kids if they wanted to play again, fully expecting a chorus of “FINISH!” To my surprise they actually wanted to play one more time, and if they’re keen I’m certainly not going to stop them!
When I got back to the teacher’s room, the club adviser seemed a bit flustered. “Today took a bit longer?” He asked. I explained what happened, and he rushed over to his desk and came back with a small piece of hard candy.
“Thank you for your extra time,” he said.
This is one of the things I love about Japan. A small piece of hard candy costs virtually nothing, but it’s a very sweet (literally, haha!) gesture. It really made me feel appreciated. Coworkers often give each other little sweets or snackie things for various reasons, usually with gratitude (or guilt in some eyes) as a motivation.
I get the sense that in some places it’s fairly strict and regimented, but at my workplace it’s pretty relaxed. Give something if you feel like, but if not, it’s no big deal. It’s a token of appreciation, but it’s not required.
Is there a custom like this in your workplace? Does it sound like an obligation, or a nicety? What do you think?