I came across this story whilst flicking through the BBC site. It was on the most e-mailed list so it seems others feel the same way I do.

The Japanese feel that the ‘old ways’ of etiquette and politeness are being eroded in modern Japanese society. Any other country would put this down to changing times and accept the sad inevitability that this is just the world we live in now…

Not Japan!

They send in The Smile-Manner Squadren to put a stop to people talking loudly on their mobiles, listening to their MP3 players at annoying volumes and (this is Japan) not respecting their elders and social betters.

This makes me really happy. I’m sure there are people that think this is ridicules (I’ll refrain from throwing in a Big Brother/Thought Police reference) and in some ways it is – manners shouldn’t have to be enforced (no matter how cool the name of the enforcers is). However, I would happily have this in England. The English are supposed to be known for their manners but that doesn’t really equate to the experiences most people have of our fine race (sarcasm?).

So the next time you see some teenagers playing music through their mobile phones on the bus or train, think about the world we could live in if only we employed the Smile-Manner Squadron.