With apologies to any male readers, when a lady purchases anything categorized as a 'feminine hygiene' product here, store clerks typically wrap it in brown paper, or a separate opaque bag. Yesterday, Lawson's did me one better with a girlie polka-dot number. (My light bulbs, blank DVDs and rice crackers were placed inside a standard-issue white bag. Shut up, I forgot my eco-bags at home.)
So why the fuss? Am I supposed to be ashamed of my pantyliners?
Silly and unnecessary and old-fashioned as it seems, I shouldn't be surprised. There are particular ways of doing things here. There are standards to uphold. It wouldn't hurt us women to cultivate a bit of mystery now and then. There may be oversharing on Facebook and YouTube, but goshdarnit our unmentionables will remain hidden from view!
It does make sense given Japan's reputation for above-and-beyond customer service. The country ranked No. 1 on that score in a recent poll of 400 international travelers, reported in the Aug. 5, 2011, issue of the New York Times Magazine. Russia came in dead last out of 24 nations; also at the bottom of the heap were China and Mexico. U.S. took 7th place, England, 16th. They're not special-wrapping the maxipads over there, now, are they?