The first time I became someone else’s love was at a bakery in Arundel as I was being called “my love” by the lady behind the cash counter. I found such affection towards strangers a little too much for me to appreciate. I am getting used to it now.
In my concept, love has to be a very strong feeling. So either that lady is extremely compassionate, or that her love is simply a way to address someone and if this is the case, then “my love” can be rendered as an empty phrase then.
I have also learnt to express my thanks to the bus driver openly in Europe whenever I alight the bus. A Jordanese friend of mine found it bizarre having the need to say “thank you” to the person who sold her a tube of toothpaste in England. For us, all these services are part of the transactions that we have paid for--they are within expectation and nothing exceptional, and therefore needless to express gratitude to.
“Gratitude” is a strong word and so is “thank you”. For some, “thank you” holds a deeper meaning than just a way to end a transaction and therefore it has to be used meaningfully and only when you receive help from others. For instance, someone has given the directions to a place or someone has picked up your belonging that you have dropped.
Japanese, at least in Asia, is renowned for their courtesy in service industry. Their smiles, bows, mannerisms must be perfect in order to achieve the perfection of courtesy. It is no longer a matter of courtesy but professionalism in courtesy. It certainly makes everyone’s day a pleasant one to be treated like a queen or a king!