Originally Posted by dreams
I do miss the days when someone pumped the gas for you plus washed your windshields and checked your oil while waiting for the tank to fill.
Until just recently (within the past three years or so) it was illegal to pump your own gas in Japan. You had to be a licensed 'hazardous substance handler' to do so, or be an 'apprentice' to one (so they could hire high school kids to do the actual pumping as long as there was one licensed person on the premises.) Today, 80% of the stations are self service, with pre-payment directly at the pump via cash or credit card. But as every station has a different system, I still have to call the attendant over to help me through the process.
I try to only get gas at the places where they do NOT have self service. It is more expensive, but only runs about $0.50 USD per tank more for my bike. Worth it to me. Virtually all the Esso and Shell stations are self serve now, but there are two major Japanese chains that are full service, and enough of them around so I usually don't have to go looking. And as all the companies use gas that comes out of a common tank, the brand of the station doesn't mean anything. As long as it's a major dealer, with high daily turnover, I don't worry about being brand-loyal.