Japan has a Beautifully Unique Way of Tipping Servers
Leaving money on a restaurant table for the serving staff is a common practice in the United States and other parts of the world.
In Japan, however, the social custom known as “tipping” is typically not expected and can even cause confusion, depending on the part of the country. As many Japanese believe that good service should be treated as a standard practice, it is widely understood that tipping is not necessary. But while many find a financial reward to a good service may be too much, some Japanese customers have found a different way to express their appreciation.
A Japanese waiter named Yuki Tatsumi was clearing up a restaurant table one day some five years ago when he noticed an intricately folded origami “tip” made from a chopstick sleeve left behind by a customer for him.
The gesture piqued Tatsumi’s interest, and so he began collecting the paper sculptures left by other customers.
According to Japanese culture site Spoon-Tamago, his collection would eventually evolve into a project he called “Japanese Tip.”
Tatsumi explained that Japanese customers have been expressing their appreciation for the food and service “by using the most common material used at any Japanese restaurant.”
The “origami tips”, crafted from chopstick sleeves of different designs and colors, range from simple folds of basic shapes to elaborate, intricate animal ones.
After Tatsumi’s personal collection grew over time, he then decided to reach out to other restaurants all over Japan, seeking for the origami tips they received to further boost his project.
With the additional contributions from 47 Japanese prefectures, Tatsumi’s collection has grown to over 13,000 paper sculptures.
Tatsumi successfully staged an exhibition in Tokyo earlier this month, featuring 8000 selected origami tips from his collection sourced from the entire country.
You may check out more of the amazing paper sculptures on his website.