The Shihan, or tea mistress, lovingly rotates the 200-year-old clay cup in her hands. A scrutinizing look. She rotates it again and inspects the treasure. Then she pauses, a brief satisfied look flitting across her face. During the more than 500-year-old Japanese tea ceremony, each hand movement is prescribed. It takes about ten long years of learning about the many different aspects of Japanese culture and a lot of practice before she passes to become a Shihan. Tradition, rules, the search for perfection in both the big and small things in life: this is Japan. These values are internalized at a very young age. Gaikokujin, or foreigners, are largely unaware of how important rituals, precise procedures, and processes are and how intensely they are practiced—that is, until they become a natural part of everyday Japanese life.
Turn, inspect—turn again and scrutinize once more. The polished piston goes through this procedure several times during its genesis. As with the Shihan, the hand movements here are also rehearsed, but have a significant meaning. Personal accountability is implied each time a piston is picked up. Because only absolutely perfect parts are permitted to leave the MAHLE plant in Tsuruoka/Japan. Deviations are inconceivable.
Even the slightest variation in color, which has nothing to do with its functionality, will not be accepted. Neither on the production line in Tsuruoka nor of course, by the Japanese customers. For they also expect absolutely perfect quality. And MAHLE in Tsuruoka delivers: zero defects. Day after day—all year long.