Nagoya – a great hotel guests love

Thursday was business trip for me to Nagoya.

As this is the beginning of the Obon week, you can imagine that train stations and airports were packed. Even though JR has planned shinkansen in the Tokaido line every 4mn (how do we do in France that they cannot manage to get one train every 90mn to arrive on time, it always intrigues me), I had to let a large number of trains go until I could get a seat!

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I approached this trip with a pure business focus in mind and hardly any expectation on Nagoya. I have been there years ago and had not found anything special to it. I knew I would have an interesting afternoon as we had to review a specific segment of clientele where we need some work done.

Let me tell, what I found was extraordinary. Although the hotel does not enjoy the best location out of all luxury business hotels in town, it is a gem!! Fully renovated, beautiful restaurants and what a team!! So far, all I heard was that Nagoya people are “different” and they don’t like to spend. Instead, it was a friendly and outgoing bunch of people, all extremely competent and professional, smiling, attached to service, client oriented.

First surprise happened upon arrival. there was a meeting to taste the winter menu, each chef for each of the 6 restaurants was describing his new menu, the recipe, the preparation, the presentation, the ingredients. All the newcomers (young people just out of university) were religiously taking notes, at the end of the session, all could taste. When I asked whether it would be too early to try the December menu in August, all looked at me astonished, they explained this is why they do it, all have notes and have time to review, learn, ask questions and the chef to prepare orders, suppliers, produce etc.

 

We then moved to our meeting. After that, I was lucky enough to be here for the welcome celebration party for the new General Manager and again what I found was amazing – a great atmosphere, a buffet that some of our clients would envy, fantastic team, the owner present and mingling with his teams, the GM very open and approachable, the employees smiling and coming naturally to me asking questions, so refreshing

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Nagoya indeed has not got much too offer in terms of heritage and monuments BUT you could consider it as a stop on the way to Kyoto (only 30mn train), to enjoy the Nagoya Meshi, great cuisine, based on red miso, eel, deepfried meat, chicken wings. and enjoy the people!! thank you ANA Crowne Plaza Nagoya for this experience.

The Boston Museum is linked to the hotel, nice place, there is a shrine, the port to visit and the Toyota site of course.

Efficiency

The challenge I face a lot is the gap there is between what both our cultures call efficiency. Here, efficiency means a lot of people acting in the same direction but not necessarily reaching a result.

 

Example – I went to the bank this morning to update my address, simply because the online option to do so only exists in Japanese. 2 persons welcomed me at reception to understand my needs and list them on a form. I received a ticket 501, the 1st one of the day. 1 of them went checking who would take care of me. She came back saying they were getting the office ready for me (???). 2 persons came to me and took me to the office. After repeating my list of needs a second time, they agreed and asked me to fill a form with my address. Once completed, they reviewed and said that the M of Minato-ku (my prefecture) was creating a risk of error in processing (???) and so I had to complete a new form. Once completed, they asked me to wait so they would ask their supervisor to approve (approve what? It is my address and I have evidence of it). After 5mn, they came back saying that “good news, it is approved” … I feel so relieved. … and explained it will take between 3 and 5 days to process this as a specific team handles this.

 

So? 7 persons for an address that I would have updated on the internet anywhere else.

 

But they are happy. I reached my objective. Japan has full employment and attention to details (the M in this case) is present at all steps