Closing Time In Takashimaya Department Store (2004-12-17)

A lot of browsing of interesting things and people can be done in Takashimaya (kanji) Department Store in Shinjuku (kanji).  KL and I went there one day and stayed till closing time and even then was fun to experience. 

At eight o'clock at night amid store-closing announcement staff put a barricade near the escalators on each floor.  One employee will stand at the foot of each escalator and bids farewell to all the leaving customers with a bow and thank you.  When you reach the first floor, you will have collected a series of bows if you start from a high floor taking the escalator.  But it doesn't end there.  On your way to the entrance of the store, a row of employees also say thank you and goodbye to people with bows.  However the best bows of the night are performed by two female staff right at the entrance.  One on each side of the door, they will bow at a full 90 degrees and their hands carefully placed on their abdomen.  Every bow lasts about five seconds and these ladies will start another one soon after the previous one is finished.  Upon leaving the store, we felt obligated in returning a bow to those ladies.

This kind of farewell ritual in department stores will only be seen in Japan I'm sure.

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