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What's Going On Here?

By: Cass Kanevil

Date Posted: 2000-01-15

Do You Really Know this Island?
To whom it may concern,

I just read an article in the 12/30 issue written by Cass Kanevil "What's Going On Here?" I would like to pose the question to her about her statement..... " I've found few places on this island that stand out from the rest when it comes to customer services and knowledge of their product," ....does she mean inside the base gates or does she actually mean on this entire island?

I think she needs to rethink her statement! I have heard from MANY folks who cannot believe how catered to we are by the Okinawans. Most of the places I frequent surpass businesses in the US hands down when it comes to customer service! I really would like to know what establishments "out in town" she frequents.

I agree with her in that the examples she gave are indicative of what customer service should be like, but I believe she is limiting her scope to "inside the base gates."

Geo Hughes

Response By Cass Kanevil

My articles are focused primarily on, but not at all limited to, our military communities, from problems and concerns to giving kudos and appreciation. I haven't found cause yet to write about any problems "out in town" (on the local economy), except for a previous article I wrote about the driving here. Since I arrived in Okinawa, I have been out and about to several places off post/base, and I completely agree with your statement regarding Okinawan customer service, as compared to the service given in the U.S. (or at times even inside our military gates for that matter).

It floors me whenever I am greeted upon entering an Okinawan place of business, and I appreciate the patience and respect given by the local businesses to us "visitors". For the most part, Okinawans try very hard to help us feel welcome in their establishments, despite the language barriers and the frustration that comes with not understanding each other very well at times. I've never been anywhere within the local community where I didn't feel welcome. Iíve never felt offended by anyone within the Okinawan local economy; but then again, I've never been down Gate 2 street at night! I've heard some pretty gruesome stories about what goes on there and I don't blame some of those local business for wanting to shut their doors to Americans.

Anyone who's ever been to "Sam's by the Sea" knows what Okinawan hospitality is really like. That has got to be my MOST favorite off post restaurant. Customers are treated like royalty as soon as they pull into the parking lot and the staff there puts EXTREME emphasis on culinary perfection and presentation. Since it's a little pricey to afford that luxury too often, I also like to frequent "The China Dragon" near the Commissary gate of Camp Foster. Along with the descent food and prices, it has a relaxed atmosphere, in addition to the staff's general friendliness, patience and hard working manners.

While visiting the several parks and tourist attractions on island, I've felt that not only did the staff go out of their way to help us feel comfortable and help us with our purchases and questions, but the locals were extremely friendly to us as well. Mr. Hughes, your comments are appreciated and well noted.

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