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Japanese Attitudes to Delays

Japanese Attitudes to Delays

Old Mar 6, 07, 11:12 pm
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Tokyo Japan
Posts: 454
[QUOTE=motytrah;7350785]I'll second the comment about waiting in line. I've gotten the feeling that the entire country is set up like a giant DMV. For instance, getting exchange orders converted to a JR Pass usually involves a long line and three to four people behind the desk stamping, writing and bowing for 10 minutes. There just seems like there are a lot of area of japanese life that seem to revolve around waiting in some sort of line.

I have to say, some realy spot on comments in this thread.

As for the above quote. The system was desighned to provide jobs. Compared to the West, banking in Japan can be a joke with the honkos (stamps) and long waites. But it does keep a lot of people working. Industries like Steel are glorified social work programs.

When I first came to Japan I told a hotel manager friend "in America we say the customer is always right". He responed with "in Japan we say the customer is god"..wow...err..well it took me a few years to realize that the Japanese don't believe in god.

One interesting thing about Japanese complaints is that they tend to be different from America. I have seen many cases where the percentage of product comlaints have been about double in Japan. However the nature of the complaints is often about product pakaging rather than the product itself.
Tokyorich is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 11:28 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: NYC (Formerly Tokyo)
Posts: 231
Thinking back about this, I guess I actually have seen plenty of people here complain, and I'm all too familiar with getting elbowed by obaasans fighting to get on the train before me or up the stairs out of the station. (As an aside, you really have to wonder what they're thinking when these little old ladies with canes deliberately charge into your back--do they think they're going to push you out of the way?) At my office, for example, there's plenty of complaining but as others have mentioned, it's never done directly, and it's never done in front of the person involved which is why this really surprised me. I'm working at a more traditional Japanese company, and the few times I've said something on the more direct side, no one was really sure how to react. I also for example accidentally knocked over my coffee cup one morning last week, and let out an expletive which really freaked everyone out.

Back to the airport...you had to be there, but what the guy said was I thought really direct (for Japanese), and the situation was really not much of an inconvenience at all--we were still getting back to Tokyo on time. That's what got me to wondering if Japanese people in general were particularly irritated by delays since almost everything here is so punctual. The two Japanese people I was with (one from Kobe and one from Kyushu) were also a little annoyed, but nothing like this guy.

But, I guess in addition to delays, you also have to watch out for running out of Japanese meals and cheap daicon ...

Unmatrix, that story about the NEX is great, but were you going to the airport? If you were delayed 40mins going to NRT, that could really be a problem. I sometimes cut it a little closer than I normally would banking on the trains almost always being on time.

AlexS is offline  
Old Mar 11, 07, 4:20 pm
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,959
Originally Posted by Q Shoe Guy View Post
So there I was standing at the front of the line waiting for the Ariake Express at Hakata. All of a sudden a trio of garish "obahans" pull up in front of me. When I point out to the trio that the line forms behind me(and the half dozen of so other Japanese waiting) they abuse me in English that they were there first. I made a comment that they must be from Osaka to have such horrid manners, much to the delight of the other folks in line.......After of few minutes the others in line started to call out the Obahans to move to the back of the line. They didn't budge!
Poor folks from Osaka. The comment that folks with bad manners "must come from Osaka" is a classic put down for rudeness. I've heard that the typical greeting between acquaintances in Osaka is not "how have you been?" but roughly translated to "did you make money today?"

I had a friend who worked on the HNL-NRT/ITM flights for Pan Am during the 1980s and dreaded the Osaka flights. He remarked that the Japanese paxs in F on the NRT flights were refined and dignified - conservative dress, ever so polite and always said thank you, consumed liquor in moderation, and above all never pressed the call button. In contrast, on the Osaka flights, he said Japanese paxs in F dressed in loud colors, seldom said thank you, many became drunk and sometimes belligerent, were always demanding this or that and constantly complaining. Call buttons were lit up throughout the flight. Poor folks from Osaka.
FTraveler is offline  

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