The Saudi Arabian television program Hawatel Kaizen (a combination of the Arabic word for “thoughts” and the Japanese for “improvement”) is a series of reports by Arabic reporters in which they share things they have been impressed by in Japan. A Japanese TV show in turn did a feature on Hawatel Kaizen, in which the panel of Japanese TV personalities were amused by the enthusiastic responses of Saudi reporter, Ahmad, to things Japanese citizens take for granted.
So in an effort to be as international as possible, RocketNews24 brings you an English recap of a Japanese TV program reacting to another program in which a Saudi Arabian reporter reacts to Japan.
Ahmad begins his report at the 0:30 mark by commenting, “Japan is a densely populated country, so its people have developed many ways to effectively use what limited space they have.” Ahmad was particularly moved by what he saw at an ordinary (for Japan) parking tower: a floor section that carousels the car around to make entrance and exit easier.
“Having to work the steering wheel back and forth to pull into a narrow space can be very difficult, so the Japanese came up with the idea of rotating the ground underneath it instead! It’s amazing that such a thing exists in this world,” Ahamd gushes, before the first of several times in the video he exclaims, “Sugoi! (Japanese for “amazing”).
Next, Ahmad pays a visit to a Japanese elementary school. Even before he arrives, something catches his eye at 1 minute and 30 seconds into the clip.
“Look at the woman across the street! She uses that yellow flag to stop traffic so the children can cross safely! In Saudi Arabia, children have to cross dangerous, busy roads all by themselves, but in Japan, people are so concerned for their safety that they even use these yellow flags when there are no cars around.”
When Ahmad reaches the school, he immediately finds something of note in the building’s entranceway. “Look! The children take their shoes off here and put them into cubby holes, then change into a separate pair of shoes that’s kept clean by being worn only indoors. Each student has a designated place for their footwear, which keeps everything neat and tidy.”
▼ Shoes neatly lined up in cubby holes at a school in Japan.
The video then cuts to Ahmad in Saudi Arabia, where, exasperated by the unruly pile of shoes in front of a mosque, he implores the caretaker to line them up neatly on a set of shelves instead.
Jump to the 3 minute and 30 second mark of the video, Ahmad finally observes a Japanese elementary school lesson being taught. “Every single time the students get up from their seats, they always push their chairs in! It’s wonderful! Even from such a young age, they understand the importance of following the rules and keeping things orderly.”
Ahmad then enters an extended talk about the many small ways people in Japan show consideration for each other, starting with his experiences at a gas station at the 5:00 mark. “When pumping gas, the attendants use two cloths. They put the first one under the nozzle, so that if any gas drips out it won’t get on the customer’s car. But what’s even more impressive is the second one, which they use as a cushion so that the hose won’t scratch the car’s body. And when the pumping is finished and the customer is leaving, the staff goes into the street and stops traffic to make it easier for him to pull out. Sugoi!
▼ A gas station employee bowing to a customer driving away.
Next, Ahmad visits a Japanese department store on a rainy day. Much like his trip to the elementary school, he’s not even all the way into the building before he finds something amazing. “Naturally, your umbrella gets wet when you use it in the rain, so the Japanese created this device! You stick your umbrella in the opening, and it wraps it in a plastic cover to keep the floors from getting wet and dirty. This is true consideration for others! Sugoi!”
▼ An plastic umbrella cover dispenser.
The next stop is a Japanese park, where the reporter is impressed by the complete absence of litter. “Everyone takes their trash home with them! Look at this bench. It’s like no one was ever here!” At the 7:00 mark, Ahmad sees a group of visitors pick up a pile of now inedible candy they spilled and proclaims it nothing short of a miracle.
Searching for the root of this thoughtfulness, Ahmad returns to the elementary school, where he observes the students performing cleaning duties, as is standard in Japan where schools don’t employ janitors. “The unbelievable thing is that the children seem to be enjoying themselves as they clean together! And look at how they get down on their hands and knees to clean the floors. When even cleaning is done with such humility, it’s no wonder that they grow up to be kind, considerate adults.”
Armed with this knowledge, Ahmad returns to Saudi Arabia and makes an appeal to education minister Prince Faisal to let him try a student cleaning project in the country. For two months the students at a Saudi elementary school take on the responsibilities of cleaning their own classrooms. Many of their parents remark that the program has made the children more willing to help around the house as well. Prince Faisal was so pleased with the results that Ahmad’s program has now been expanded to a total of 640 schools.
Sugoi, Ahmad! Sugoi!