Pride & Politeness

Pride & Politeness

It’s hard not to compare other countries to the UK when I travel. Mostly what I notice is the cleanliness in other places. After three decades of travelling, I realise, it’s not because they spend twice as much as us on cleaning the streets, it’s because people don’t litter as much. It all comes down to pride in where they live and they simply care.


When we arrived back from Tokyo last month and landed in Birmingham, our 10 minute train from the airport to the city jolted us back into reality. In our carriage, two tables were covered in rubbish. There was even a bag of rubbish tidied up on the floor. Clearly someone had made a bit of an effort, but it looked like they assumed someone will eventually pick it up, paying no regard to all the other people using the train after them.


More than anywhere else, even Hong Kong, we noticed how beautifully quiet Tokyo is. On our airport shuttle back to Birmingham, the staff from the airport were shouting across people at each other (this happened on our last trip on this too). How about just sitting next to each if you want to talk – why do we all need to hear your voice?


The only other country I have experienced UKIE’s extreme drinking culture is Germany, and sure enough, during our three-hour connection at Dusseldorf, we found ourselves in a packed, noisy restaurant. Most of us enjoy a drink, especially with a meal after a long flight but we couldn’t even have a conversation. There was a group of people, playing music from their phone (oh, the quality) and then drowning it out by singing even more loudly.  Again, their own feeling of self-importance far outweighed any sign of respect for fellow human beings.

Having had every meal – every dish – served to us with a bow in Tokyo, it was disheartening to see our two bowls of pasta thrown slid across the table to us on a tray. Later, said tray was flippantly picked up sending our receipt flying. My beloved couldn’t concentrate on his meal until he had gone and picked up this bit of litter from the floor.

Oh how we miss the respect we received and therefore, gave back, from ANA staff, having just alighted from their beautiful airline.

It all comes back to pride. Something the UK can do with.

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