Another lesson Japan can teach us is the proper way to pay a dinner check.

The waiter doesn't present you with the bill at your table. This avoids some of the shortcomings of the American system. While payment by credit card avoids the necessity of spreading money on the tablecloth, the mere presence of the bill is unpleasant and frequently leads to an argument who is to pay for dinner or how the cost will be shared. A financial discussion over coffee is certainly not the way to end a pleasant meal.

In Japan, after you've left the dining area, you go to the cashier's desk where your dinner check is available. Payment is made there unless you're well known at the restaurant, in which case you just leave without seeing the cashier. Your bill will be brought to your office in the morning.