Japan is popular as a country filled with its own unique rituals, culture and customs starting from the bowing of heads while exchanging business cards and the many strict rules they follow. Also, one particularly necessary element of Japanese life is society’s obsession to punctuality.
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of punctuality in Japanese society. They are defined by these words; hard-working”, “disciplined” and “respectfully orderly”. At a young age, Japanese are accustomed in the utmost importance of punctuality. Office workers on the other hand will arrive at work extra early on a daily basis in order to avoid potential tardiness.
For the Japanese who have been brought up in such a time-conscious society, sometimes it is difficult for them to accept the loose attitude to time held by most of the people who are from other countries. Therefore, if you want to fit into Japanese society completely, it is significant for you to understand the value of punctuality in Japan.
It is common sense for Japanese to be prompt and we should be aware that being prompt in Japanese society has crucial different meaning than here in the Philippines. We are so used with our “Filipino time” which means being minutes to hours late compared to the standard time. In our defense, not all Filipinos are usually late and we have been using this excuse all the time to cover up our tardiness.
In Japan, if you were told to go to your work at 9am, and you arrived just on time, you would be considered as late. It is because, in Japan, it is common for people to arrive 10 minutes before the time they are told to come. When you are told to come at 9 am, it means that your boss is expecting you to be able to start working from 9:00 am and not from 9:15. Therefore, you are expected to come before the time you are told to come and preparing yourself to work.
The Japanese believe strongly in being committed to predictability and consistent reliability. This can be seen in their business practices and everyday living. In fact, being on time every time, is the first step towards building trust and reliability in Japan. This is true both in business as well as personal relationships. Being organized and efficient, and adherence to deadlines are considered their way of life.
So if you want to work or go in Japan, you should probably consider and adapt to their time consciousness as a way also of giving respect.
In Jellyfish Education Philippines, we have witnessed how meticulous our sensei in being on time. Their classes, for instance would start at 1pm but they come in the office an hour before and prepare all the necessary materials for the class. So we always encourage the students to come in the class on-time and it was great as to how the students show their dedication and respect by also arriving in the class 30 minutes before the class.
We hope this enlightened you into studying Japanese language and not just study but embrace their customs and practices. Studying the language could be the first move and Jellyfish Education Philippines would really be happy to offer the class together with our Japanese senseis. See you here and enroll with us!