There's one thing Asia does better than anywhere else: service.
And the place in Asia where it is practised at a higher level than anywhere else is Japan.
From the unfailingly courteous taxi drivers in their immaculate vehicles to the precisely wrapped parcels for the most humble department store purchase and the little dance of bows guests get from attendants whenever they enter a hotel, Japan is probably the most polite place on earth.
Would it surprise you, then, to know that the people of Tokyo don't think they are polite enough?
On my last trip to Tokyo I visited the concerned citizens of the Tokyo Good Manners Project, an initiative that hopes to drum some vestiges of civility into the notoriously aggressive and uncouth residents of that metropolis. Well, that's how they see it.
I suspect you are as incredulous as I am.
The concept of omotenashi, or selfless hospitality, is a cornerstone of Japanese culture. It's a privilege for a host to welcome guests and make sure all their needs are seen to. This applies in every aspect of life, in shops, restaurants and even helping strangers in the street.
Given that the greater region of the city houses more than 13 million people, the sense of order and calm as everyone goes about their responsibilities with concern for others is remarkable.
But you might think Tokyo was a city of loutish thugs from my conversation with Hima Furuta, an entrepreneur who is the director of the not-for-profit project. "We feel we could be a lot better," he says. "I expect Japanese people to have good manners all the time."
Might he give some examples? Well, although the young people are very dedicated to helping others, they have "very bad" manners with their cellphone usage, not looking up from their devices in the street or when they're in other public places, such as at a restaurant.
Then there are the people at the famously frenetic Shibuya crossing who walk across each other's paths without apologising.
People on trains bump into each other when boarding and don't say sorry. They also sometimes fail to give up their seats for their elders or pregnant women.
There are people who toss garbage on the ground (I still find this hard to believe) or, when spotting garbage, fail to pick it up. It's expected, for instance, that those enjoying a concert in a stadium will take away their own garbage and dispose of it at home.
Smoking in a non-smoking area is happening more frequently and tattoos, once banned from public baths, are starting to appear again.
Apparently, even the standard of taxi drivers is dropping. Some come from less sophisticated regions of Japan and aren't always up to scratch.
Yes, it's a hotbed of boorish behaviour, all right.
But it's a serious issue for Furuta and his colleagues. "Manners are a kind of rule making people from different backgrounds comfortable," he says. He explains that formal Tokyo has traditionally had a higher standard of manners than a place like Osaka, for instance, where the people are more laid-back, "loose". So it has high expectations of itself.
That's reflected in the statistics. While 65 per cent of foreigners believe the people of Tokyo have good manners, only 24 per cent of Tokyo residents think so, according to Furuta. Figures show 79 per cent of visitors think Tokyo is clean while only 41 per cent of locals do. This gap in perception is something the project hopes to narrow, by both encouraging Tokyoites to smarten up their act and reinforcing the good things about the city, so that they feel proud of it.
The Tokyo Good Museum is a "living showcase" that isn't bricks and mortar (don't go looking for it). The administrators collaborate with universities, corporations and publications such as Time Out to get the message across.
The project is also directed at tourists, to help them understand and appreciate the culture of courtesy and respect that drives the city and its people. Visitors will be given pamphlets on arrival to explain certain cultural traditions, such as removing shoes in temples and bathhouse rituals.
Over at the Tokyo Good Museum online (@goodmanners.tokyo) the manifesto states that the museum "will disseminate it to the world by defining, storing and exhibiting good manners in Tokyo and people, good and goods that make up it as 'works'."
I'm still not sure what that means but it would be bad manners to point it out.