The hard to tear plastic wrap
When do you feel like you are in a foreign country? Is it when you see a nice exotic view? Is it when you see many people of different races walking by? In my case, it is when I have a hard time opening plastic wrap. You know, those little plastic wraps over a tooth brush and toothpaste in some hotels. When I encounter difficulty in unwrapping them, and end up using my teeth to tear them, I feel like I am abroad.
I have a hard time understanding why they couldn't put a little bit of thought into the latter process; users trying to open the plastic wrap. They could have chosen a plastic material that is easy to open, or they could have put a little slit, so I can use it to peal from there. The same applies to the use of toilets. If you think about the next person who uses them, then you would think of using it tidily, so the next user won't feel uncomfortable.
In the business process, it is looking at the continuing process that comes right after you. If you spend time and effort to think about your latter process, you could improve the whole process dramatically. You would have some odd feeling if people at the process in front of you had not put thoughts onto your process. You would feel right and comfortable if they had put thoughts on your process and made corrective actions.
If you are a marketer and want a new feature developed from your development engineers, don't hesitate to spend time and effort to describe the importance of what they were to develop in the market. If you were developing some products so that they will be exposed to quality inspections, make the specification transparent so that the following tests would be easier and more efficient. I believe that Japanese product quality comes from caring about the following processes; the hard to tear plastic wrap can't exist.