Japanese working hours

13 Oct

I’d like to share with you about Japanese working hours, which is requested by one of my blog readers, Leonard the other day from his comment. (Dear My blog readers: Please feel free to send me your request that you want me to write about! Thanks!! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

When we go to Europe, we are surprised to find that stores close at 6 pm, and they also close on Sunday. It’s also a surprise they don’t have convenience stores around.

How is Japanese working hours? Most office workers have Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays off. They work from Monday to Friday 9 to 5. But it’s very rare that we are free from overtime work. As I mentioned in my post about Japanese working environment the other day, Japanese companies do not like to hire more employees, which is because they want to eliminate extra expenses they have to spend for every employee for their commuting, insurance, pension program, and so on. As it turns out, every company has as small numbers of employees as possible and makes them work longer hours instead of filling with additional employees. I wonder if there are any employees these days who leave office at 5pm, because many of them work up until 9 or 10pm, and there are even those who work up until 1 or 2am next morning to cover his or her workload. (It doesn’t mean they can have next day off or start working from noon or something.)

Of course there are employees who can leave office at 5pm but that’s because their job is easy and simple. They can be easily replaced by someone else who works for cheaper wage in the future.

When it comes to service industry such as real estate, they may close office on Tuesday and Wednesday and they open for weekends and national holidays because that is the time they can expect more customers. It’s tragic when you work for service industry and your wife works for non-service industry, because your holidays never meet each other. You can never have holiday together!

How about shops? Shops usually open from 10 or 11am to 8 or 9pm. Small shops have a day off once a week, but big shops such as fashion department store will be always open except 1st of January. I remember they used to have Wednesday off, as they are considered service industry, but for the past 10 years and today I see them always open, almost 365 days annually. Let me tell you one big difference. When I was shopping at a store in Venice, Italy, I was told to go out of the store because they are closing in 2 minutes. In Japan, even when they are closing, they say “We are closing the shutter now, but please take your time. We can wait until our last customer checks out. We never make you rush. Please never mind our closing and enjoy your shopping as usual!”

If you doubt, go to Marui department for example and stay inside the shop when they are closing. You’ll hear this announcement all over the building. ๐Ÿ˜‰

There are even shops that open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
Convenience stores and some super markets are open 24 hours. Especially convenience stores are everywhere, and in that way we will never miss something to eat and drink even if we forget to buy them. Major discount store such as Donkihote, bookstore or video rental store such as TSUTAYA, dry cleaning stores, hair salons, beauty salons, restaurants….so many places in Tokyo offer services for 24 hours. It’s not only Tokyo, (but I guess there are many in Tokyo) you can check it out from here, if you read Japanese.

When do they take days off? Those who work for shops and restaurants can have only 8 days off a month, according to my friends who have worked for shops. 8 days means national holidays are totally skipped, and of course they have to avoid Saturday and Sunday as much as possible. They would take turns to have weekends off and so it’s not that every weekend they can be off-duty.

I think Japan is very convenient and functional place for customers, but if you try to work here, you know how much sacrifice we have to make to support our customers. “Customers are GOD!” Things like this is spoken as a matter of course and without even a bit of hesitation in this country. It’s so crazy!

That’s why there are arrogant customers who take advantage of their superiority against employees. “Are you saying that to your precious customers? You’ll never know how much inconvenience I had to have because of you.” Nasty customers would even make the employees apologize so many times. In other countries, the employees would say, “Sorry for that, but it’s not my fault. The computer made mistakes.” or whatever. But in Japan, it’s not possible to answer to your customers like that. Even if it was not your fault, you have to apologize because you or your computer or your coworker or whoever that belong to the company is representing the company. I think Japanese people put emphasis on apologizing more than appreciating something. I’m sure we hear “sumimasen” ๏ผˆใ™ใฟใพใ›ใ‚“๏ผ‰a lot more than “arigatougozaimasu”ใ€€๏ผˆใ‚ใ‚ŠใŒใจใ†ใ”ใ–ใ„ใพใ™๏ผ‰.

Even while I am writing this, I feel so sick of this supressed society.
But I’m telling you the truth. This is another true story of Japan.
I can tell you this because I’ve seen it and lived in it as Japanese.
I’m fed up with this, but only being a customer, it’s so easy! (Sometimes I’m totally mad at what employees say to me: it’s not my fault! and then I realize how much I was spoiled in Japanese society!!)
Is this only in Japan? How are the things in your country?


47 Responses to “Japanese working hours”

  1. Sparklewolfie October 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    in America it is totally like that – there is customer service, but the employees are separate from the company. So they can say "It is not my fault" but they will still try to make it better for the customer. Like yesterday, I went to Target because they melted the coating on my glasses and the lady said "I cannot do anything about that because you did not buy it here!" but we were upset and she finally let me pick out a new pair of glasses and they will give it to me for free
    I do not think they will ask you to leave the store either, unless you are there very very late. I have stayed past closing at some big stores before, but at small craft stores they will ask you to leave ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    In Taiwan, there are so many convenience stores and 24 hour stores, too! So I do not know if they will ask you to leave… because it has never happened to me!!

    • kirin October 14, 2009 at 8:54 am #

      I've never visited Taiwan, but it sounds like similar to Japan. My only concern is the mosquito. Is it true in Taiwan there's a sort of mosquito that kills human beings? I am so scared of this story and so I've never visited there although I am very much attracted by the foods. :p

    • Henjutsu July 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      Actually, I've seen several stores close out and just tell the customers to get out. For example, Target and Home Depot. In both cases I was a witness to, they were having some kind of an employee meeting at an unscheduled time (normal operating hours) and they told all the customers to get out ASAP. For Target this was in the morning, for Home Depot this was around 4 PM. Like rabid wolves they checked all lanes and repeated to customers that they were closing the store, a woman employee came over and helped me get the buckets I was trying to get faster even.

      As for the niceness, sometimes store employees are nice, sometimes they are not. In America, the sense of responsibility is completely removed from the working class. If they mess up too badly, they can just oftentimes go and get another job at another store relatively quickly. If the customer is inconvenienced, the clerk does not feel responsible, it's only the manager who can come over with "magic powers" and grant extra demands, like replacing an item without a receipt (though to Home Depot's credit, they take items with no receipts all the time, but that's their policy. A woman once came in with pictures of dead tress that she said she bought from them, and they refunded her based on that.)

      Convenience stores in US are open 24/7 but you can get shot in them sometimes. Pretty rare though.

      • kirin July 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

        It's very strange they exchange items with no evidence of purchasing from their store. Basically return policy is strict in Japan. Usually they won't take the things from which you take off tags. You cannot return the shoes you wear outside. You cannot return the things you get at a bargain.

  2. Leonard October 13, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    Now i don't want to work or live in Japan anymore.. I might still visit it of course and I'll be very happy with everything i will be able to read and understand of the Japanese language, and of course i will buy a lot of things , but i will make it damn clear how much i appreciate all Japanese service, or well i will make it damn clear that i appreciate the working spirit but i don't support the reasons behind it!

    Poor people.. do you get paid for all your overtime in Japan? Here in Sweden we get like 200% or more if we're forced to work overtime or we can check in later at work any other day or take days off that we've worked in. Sweden is probably the best country in all Europe when it comes to human rights of an individual person. We also have free hospital treatment, collage, lawyers (for those who can't afford), and a lot of other things, but I'm quite sick of the people.. Those searching for a life here leaving there old county behind often never learn our language cause we educate them in their own language instead and they are placed in society's with there own natives instead of being mixed with the salad. This doesn't apply to everyone of course but it's sad to see. Except for those things the native Swedes are impolite considered to other countries. But i guess its overall is very good. Um.. Okay i suck at talking :p I'm still young i guess.

    • kirin October 14, 2009 at 9:47 am #

      We can get paid with 125% more by the hour when we work overtime. But it's all up to the company. Some pay all, but some pay only up to 40 hours per month, some pay nothing…. But they will not be punished. I have no idea why this can be possible in here. Japanese government is too sweet to corporate business owners because corporate tax is a great revenue.

      Hospital treatments, high school, college…all these things are not free in Japan. Before our new government started this summer, previous cabinet even tried to ignore expenses for old people. I'm sorry if you feel bad about Japan, but I think I should tell you the truth, too. You will be able to enjoy what you get in Japan, but there are so much efforts and labor by Japanese people behind it. I just hope our government learn more about human right from your country. <SPAN class=idc-smiley><SPAN style="BACKGROUND-POSITION: -12px -36px"><SPAN>:(</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>

  3. Patty October 13, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    It is so neat to hear about what a native think of the environment. As I said, we tend to think grass is greener on the other side while blinded to the little things like working environment. In US, as you said, if something goes wrong, they would apologize to a degree but will made clear that you're dealing w/ a person, not a machine/robot/or the company, despite the fact that they represent the company that you are patronizing for. There will be people who will give poor customer service, and while you don't have to take it as is, you can go to management and complaint, but alot of times they will listen to you vent and then do nothing about it. Sometimes it's lethargic to just vent, and that's really what alot of people do. Sometimes, however, I think people in the States are too ego-centric and whiny. That's annoying.

    • kirin October 14, 2009 at 9:09 am #

      I heard one big difference in the U.S and Japan is that American people try not to say sorry very easily because that means they admit their faults. While here in Japan, people say sorry all the time, because the word is not connected to such idea. Some sales people keep saying sorry for anything, which sometimes sound too much.

      • Patty October 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

        That is exactly correct, Americans will say they're sorry to a point, and make it very clear that the liability is not on them personally. Sometimes, they don't even do that. I will say, one time, someone faux-apologizes (that is when someone fake saying that they're sorry). It was really funny looking back now, but the situation was pretty bad, and it costed alot of money, and I was talking to the girl on the other end, and it was clearly her fault, but she wouldn't say sorry because like you said, that is admitting fault. So, you know what she said? She said, I'm sorry you are having problem with this. At the time, I was dumbfounded and speechless. She wasn't apologizing for her mistake at all, she was instead apologizes for my misfortune, which mind you, she created. Anyway, we had to move on, because pushing blame wasn't going to get anything done. But I'll never forget that story.

      • kirin October 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

        That's very interesting. But then you guys have to be always careful not to say sorry without thinking. We(Japanese) have to be very careful in the U.S because we are so used to saying sorry all the time, which means we always admit our faults at any cases, such as car accidents, and we always lose. (0_o;) Scary…

  4. Walter October 13, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    In Belgium you'll be politely asked to finish your shopping and go to the counter to pay for your shopping. It's usually about 15 minutes before the shop closes. Most supermarkets will announce this on the speaker system . The shutters or automatic doors will be switched so everyone can leave but not enter.
    Customers are treated with politeness, but not considered GOD! As for making a nuisance of yourself as a customer, you could be asked by the shop manager to leave or worse be banned from using shop in future.
    It's different in smaller shops. If you are busy being served , they close the shutters and serve you till you're finished If not busy, you will be asked to finish and leave.
    I think it's best that way. Respect should go both ways. Employees at a shop are people too.
    Good thing I don't live in Japan , I'd be in constant argument with impolite customers ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Here it's illegal to keep your shop open for more than 6 days and if you are open long hours (9 till 8 pm) you have to have personnel work in shifts. No more than 40 hours per week is allowed.
    If one company started doing this , it's against the law. They would have an unfair advantage over others who are following the rules , so that company would be sued by the workers union. Of course, many smaller companies ( less than 50 employees ) have no obligation to have a union representative, so they do this , but that also means personnel can change to other companies where working hours are better. It's not all good here , though, companies in the service industry have legal ways of making personnel work longer and on several Sundays a year, but it's limited.
    The price for all this is that things are more expensive here and taxes are pretty high compared to other countries where working hours are high and prices are lower.
    Isn't Japan one of the most expensive countries to live in ?

    • kirin October 14, 2009 at 9:20 am #

      Japan is not one of the most expensive countries to live in any longer, I guess. I learned from my trip to Europe, there was a big difference in price between when you buy things at super markets and when you eat out at restaurants. In Japan, the difference between these are not as big as in Europe. That's why many Japanese people eat out or buy cooked meals to go back home because there's no big difference and of course we are tired from overtime work everyday.

      Land in Tokyo costs very expensive. If you want a proper house with 2nd floor in Tokyo, you have to pay more than 100 million yen. But restaurants are reasonable, so as clothing, home electronics, books, and anything… I can tell you I had to pay twice as much money to eat a light cafe meal in Amsterdam. In Tokyo, I paid half and I could even get a bowl of salad, too.

  5. Dutchie October 13, 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    I personally think that laws should be in place to protect employees from slaving long hours. The spill-over of fatigue will result in sick leave n burnt-out. In the end, it affects the community who has to contribute to their disability benefits.

    The service sector used to close at 5pm until their organisation lobbied for it to be extended to 8 or 9pm. I doubt they benefit much from this move bec most of us r at home making dinner n taking a well-earned rest at those hours ! There will always be a disparity between the employees n the employers. The latter designs the plans from a drawing board. They tend not to take into account the human factor. I'm fortunate to work the official 36hrs per week with 24 days of annual holidays ๐Ÿ™‚ I would gladly vote against long hours. For the shift workers, it should stay at 8hrs per day. Productivity starts to deteriorates after the long hours anyway.

    • kirin October 14, 2009 at 9:29 am #

      No no, most of us(Japanese) are only a way back home from overtime work around 8 or 9 pm! They may enjoy shopping to get rid of working stress and also drink at somewhere around the shopping mall. One of my friend in her 40's has to work until 10 pm everyday, and so she decided to live without dinner every night to lose weight. Years later she became so skinny (she was a little bit fat before) but that just made me feel sorry and sad. (T_T)

      It's so true that many Japanese workers are becoming depression and cannot get back to work. Did you know that Japan's suicide rate is the highest among developed countries? This working environment has so much to do with it, I suppose. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  6. Elin October 13, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    I'm swedish, and a full time working day here is around 9 hours as well, but I really doubt it would be acceptable here to work as much overtime without getting extra payment/rest as you describe here.
    You're max allowed to work 48 hours overtime in a month according to Working ''environment department'' here.
    We usually work Monday-Friday here. Small shops use to closed on sundays and open a few hours on saturdays.

    If a customer wants to stroll around in a warehouse after the closing time, they get asked to leave, its considered as prima donna behaviour to expect that you're able to continue shopping after closeing time here.

    I've heard rumors that japanese couples had hard to find time together due to work, but I never imagined it was so bad that they even couldn't spend the weekend together. That sounds really sad to me. ๐Ÿ˜

    • kirin October 14, 2009 at 9:38 am #

      I should have written it's 9 to 6. Usually 9 to 6, including 1 hour lunch break, 8 hours a day for full time working.
      But it's not that all the companies pay for overtime work. But I hear it used to be worse, as people had to do "overtime work from service" (sa-bisu zangyou ใ‚ตใƒผใƒ“ใ‚นๆฎ‹ๆฅญ๏ผ‰and they had to do it for nothing.

      The rumors you hear is true! Many married couples, even if they are Sat. and Sun. off, have almost no time together until weekends. My teacher used to say "I have not seen my husband for a week or so…I can sense he is around, but when he leaves house I am sleeping, while I come back when he is sleeping."

  7. Cath October 14, 2009 at 6:31 am #

    I feel sad reading about this. I love Japanese!
    But your country has an excellent reputation when it comes to service. No doubt about that.
    I wish I can be a boss in Japan and take good care of my employees!
    One of my country's leaders mentioned to yours, that Japan should welcome more foreigners to become Japanese or work in Japan. I disagree with that. Non-Japanese are just too different in their work attitude and lifestyle. I strongly feel that they will only tarnish the Japanese culture. There're more important things to a country than $$$. So I hope Japan will keep the number of immigrants to a minimum!

    • kirin October 14, 2009 at 9:46 am #

      I know what you mean. I have no intention to speak ill of Chinese people, but I see so much difference in the quality of service when it is a Chinese employee that picks up a call from me. But on the other hand, we are losing population and we cannot have any time to argue deteriorating the quality of service or anything. We have to be more flexible!

      • Cath October 16, 2009 at 12:40 am #

        The trend is reverse here in Singapore. Personally I think Chinese service is better than the Singaporean's! One of my Japanese friends worked in the service line before. She mentioned, if the phone had to ring 3 times, the service personnel will have to say "Sorry to keep you waiting." I like that! Also, we went to the Honda service workshop and we were extremely surprised by the amazing service! Hot towels (it was winter), choice of drinks, free calender, a box of snack for my friend. 0_0! I deeply appreciate such service and really wanted to let them know how wonderful their service is! How do I do that? What can I say, Kirin? ^_^
        Perhaps having more foreign workers will help. But immigrants… that's another issue. Culture is so precious! I really hope globalisation will not erode it. I would love to live in Japan permanently but I know I'll never be a real Japanese.

      • Denise October 18, 2009 at 3:01 am #

        Japan would not survive without the Chinese. I used to have a lot of Chinese co-workers at the pizzeria I used to work. They do the hard work no Japanese wants to do in the kitchen, while the Japanese stays on the hall. They don't do unpaid overtime, and are very selfish sometimes. However, I think the service quality wouldn't change if their bosses would know how to be real bosses. (That is why I heard there are little Japanese captains – aviation – lack of command). Once, at the end of the day, I was doing something all by myself in the kitchen and my Chinese co-worker was playing PSP! I got pissed and complained to my boss, he had no reaction… After a while and as it was a very mixed nationalities place everybody started helping each other. Even the Chinese! The ones that were in Japan for more time were very nice, while the ones that had just arrived and the too young ones were more "I do my own and only job and leave" mentality. Saying to keep immigrants to minimum is not smart. Does Japanese culture need to be isolated from any other to exist? If people could really communicate and learn from each other the world would be a better place. In this Chinese-Japanese case, Chinese would learn how to be more costumer oriented and Japanese how to leave work and go do sth else at home when working hours are over. It is really amazing when people learn a little bit from others and that was the reason I was very happy to work at this pizzeria. If it was only Japanese workers, I would have to learn and follow every instruction of their unfundamented methods and robotic mentality – just do it like this cause we all do it like this for centuries and we don't know why but why should we care, just do it – fast and quiet – And don't forget to smile.

      • kirin October 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

        It's important to preserve our history and own culture, but the Japanese are homogeneous race living in an isolated island who tend to stay in a small group all the time. Being unique and different from others are not very much welcomed in this society, especially at work. I think it's necessary for us open our mind more to accept more immigrants and foreign workers. There are many foreign workers but when it comes to immigrants, our government is very strict, nevertheless our population is getting smaller and smaller…

        Only a few people you or I had contacted gave us the image of the whole nation, but we cannot judge people from which country is good or bad. My impression that I had Chinese people from a single call with a Chinese woman can be changed next time if she sounds very polite and nice.

  8. theSWIT October 14, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    Here in Singapore, majority of the people will not behave high and almighty but still.. And the sales person will not treat customers like the way in Japan, we are more like a fair standing between both the customer & the person serving. However older generation people (serving people or as customers) can be pretty rude at times..espc in hawker centers/food courts when their queue is long and you take a slow time to respond..

    I would like to know more about the girls fashion in japan, what are the distinctive features of each.

    &I have a doubt for the longest time.. I want to ask is Japanese hp email same as their web email? or normally people have diff for both?

    Thank you Kirin chan !<:

    • kirin October 14, 2009 at 9:56 am #

      Oh, you are interested in girls fashion. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Then Tokyo Kawaii TV is the best thing I can offer. It takes time for making an English summary, so please be patient.
      Japanese HP email, you mean email address for the webpage? Sorry I don't really get what you mean. In Japanese we use word "homepage =HP" instead of website. Therefore, I can say my HP email address is as in Contact page, kirin at tokyo…. in Japan.

      • Cath October 16, 2009 at 12:43 am #

        I think theSWIT was referring to your mobile phone email address. (In Singapore, hp means handphone, which means mobile phone.)

        @theSWIT: Did you know handphone is a term coined by Singaporeans? Haha… other countries use the term mobile phone or cell phone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • theSWIT October 16, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

        seriously? i never knew tht in my 17+ years.

  9. theSWIT October 14, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    thanks ! &yes I will !^^
    I mean mobile phone *crosses lips* opps, its a lingo problem ! handphone= hp in short. Sorry for the confusion !

    • Denise October 18, 2009 at 3:08 am #

      Some ppl only have mobile email, offered by their phone operators. The ones with Internet at home and into technology may have another one. It amazes me with all the technology fame that Japan has, many Japanese don't really use the latest technology. Example, many people take years to buy a digital camera or a flat screen TV (to replace their old ones at home – maybe no time for tv :P).

      • kirin October 18, 2009 at 11:07 am #

        There certainly is a technical divide among Japanese people. It doesn't even mean that young people are high tech and old people are low tech. Some of my friends don't even know how to type with computer keyboards, because their job needs no computer works. They reply more on mobile phones to email and to shop online. While my father uses computer as well as many different softs and digital gadgets. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think almost all Japanese people nowadays have one or two mobile phones, and we tend to spend more time on mobile emails, because as I explained, we have to work till late at night. We spend most of the time outside home.

  10. Becca October 14, 2009 at 9:22 pm #

    I guess this is one of the reasons japan is now one of the world's biggest economic powers… because you work so hard! In canada, much like the other people have said, there are laws about overtime and restrictions. I work in customer service (kind of) and they always tell us the customer is right, but we aren't blamed for everything so it's not so bad ๐Ÿ™‚

    • kirin October 18, 2009 at 11:13 am #

      I think so too. Unless otherwise, it should have been impossible for us to become such an economic power. We have no underground mineral resources, small island with small population with only 40% of food self-sufficiency. I guess it's only human resources that we can count on. In that way Japanese people had to be hard working like this. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  11. Patrick October 15, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Malaysia and Singapore will be more or less the same, customers are treated good with respect and politely, but not to the extent of being 'GOD'-like. It's more of an equal basis. But the services here, if compared to your country, would be like comparing the sky and earth. Things aren't that efficient here, well, not everywhere of couse, but generally yes. And working hours here are more or less the same as Japan, minus the overtime hours. Working late hours are mostly seen in big and well-known companies…

    • kirin October 18, 2009 at 11:16 am #

      I am lately interested in Malaysia and Singapore. I've never visited these countries yet, but I feel like visiting there to see how these countries are. I am expecting the foods most though… :p

  12. Cat October 16, 2009 at 6:33 am #

    I have lived in Japan for a year and worked as an English teacher there. I think as foreigners we teachers weren't expected to behave exactly the same as the Japanese administration staff to customers but working conditions were much more strict than in Australia.

    I have heard that Australians are considered very lazy workers because we have so many public holidays and in general we don't like to work overtime unless it is urgent.

    In my city our shops are open 9am to 5pm. Our supermarkets are open 8am to 9pm. On Thursday we have late night shopping when most stores are open until 9pm. We also have stores open on weekends. But if you go to some rural towns in Australia the shops are all closed on Sunday. It's very annoying when I am used to having them opened in my city! (^_^)

    One thing I used to really enjoy about shopping in Japan in Shiga prefecture was when the stores were soon to be closed they turned the lights down and played slow music.

    Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed reading about a Japanese perspective of work hours in Japan.

    • kirin October 18, 2009 at 11:23 am #

      Hi, welcome to my blog, Cat! I personally like Australia so much. People are relaxed but you have convenience stores and super markets that open until late at night. When I lived and travelled there (Sydney – Melbourne – Perth – Darwin – Cairns) I didn't feel much inconvenience, especially at big cities. Rural areas were not convenient, but those places were where I enjoyed outback and great nature of Australia. ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. Polprav October 17, 2009 at 12:09 am #

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

    • kirin October 19, 2009 at 11:47 pm #

      Hi! Do you want to quote this post in your blog with a link to my blog? That's OK, as long as you credit to my blog. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you for asking. In the future if you find any other posts you want to quote in your blog from this blog, just go ahead and you don't have to ask me every time. I'm happy as long as you can give credit to this blog to show your readers that original source was from my blog. Thanks!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. Patrick October 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Yeah, as we have different races and culture, there are different kind of foods around..

  15. Lisa October 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm #

    Hi Kirin! Thanks for an excellent post as always! This is a good reference for me, as my friends don't believe me when I talk about the overtime in Japan. I was mostly lucky, but still often felt guilty for leaving shortly after the 'on time' hour, though I often came in early instead to prepare for the day.

    I agree that the customer service can feel a bit extreme in Japan – I sometimes felt guilty over the trouble staff went to to help me! But it was comforting, even though I think I threw out a million thank yous when my Japanese friends wouldn't utter a single one sometimes.

    Here in Sweden it's extreme on the other side of the scale. There is NO customer service. You can walk into a shop where the staff are happily chatting with each other, or reading magazines and the only response you get is a look that goes 'Siiiigh, why are YOU here to bother me?' It's rather frustrating, because you really feel you're asking far too much if looking for another size or anything similar. It's a shame and it makes me quite mad sometimes to be honest hehe.

    Opening hours here are the same as most of the rest of Europe, though some towns have shops open from maybe 11am-2pm or even 12-4pm on sundays. Of course the big cities are different, but not much better. I went to a concert some weeks ago in Stockholm and decided a hotel would be too expensive, so I would do an allnighter and hang out in a café, reading. Something I often did in Japan (Hurray for Royal Host and Gusto!). But everything, apart from night clubs, closed at midnight or 1am! Admittedly it was a thursday, but for a capital city I thought it was quite pathetic. So I think both Europe and Japan can learn a lot from each other in different ways hehe. ^^

    • kirin October 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

      How interesting! Are you in Sweden now? (@_@?) I'm confused…After Japan did you go back to the U.S and then to Sweden? (Sorry sometimes my memory is totally mixed up with someone else's. You used to live in Osaka, right?) I wish I could live and work in many different cities in the world like you!

      Huumm…I will totally get mad at such customer service out there, since I am so much spoiled by sweetest customer service in Japan! Your comment was very interesting. I can get there what I missed in here, but I cannot get there what I got in here…

  16. cin October 20, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    Wow! Iใ€€feel like Perth has the slackest work hours!! XD
    As you probably already know shops closes by 6pm everyday except for the night shopping days!
    And with office jobs its normally 9-5 on the weekdays

    sorry for the late response!! ive been slow with blogs lately!
    i haven't updated my blog in 1 mth or more!!


    oh yea! how about a teacher at a high school? what are their working hours?
    i am interested because my boyfriend is moving to japan next year to be a highschool english teacher! ๐Ÿ˜€
    and as for me~ i will continue to pursue the magazine job (perhaps moving to japan as well)! i think our boss have finally understood what you meant with what most japanese people like out of magazines! she was quite stuborn about following her ways!! XD

    • kirin October 22, 2009 at 11:41 am #

      How do you move to Japan? As a tourist or do you have a way to get a working visa as well? Usually highschool teachers, well I'd say teachers work so long hours. They not only teach but also take care of club activities, PTA, and so many other events and meetings. But as for your boyfriend, I think he only teaches English and will not have to take care of other jobs as other teachers do, because he does not speak Japanese and that's not what other teachers expect from him.

      Your boss needs to come to see Japan and understand what you or I meant. :p

  17. kirin October 25, 2009 at 12:24 am #

    Wow, that sounds strange… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ She is just too stubborn to learn something new, maybe?
    There are a lot of needs for native English speakers as teacher for private and public schools, as well as English language schools in Japan. But I don't know about Indonesian. Even though you speak good English, somehow our society stick to "native" when it comes to English teacher. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Also it's not very common for us to learn Indonesian language. It'd be very exciting if you can work in Japan, though.

    As for the program I don't know it, but there should be plenty of job openings for native English speakers.
    For your reference: http://staff.hiwork.jp/typeLaugage/noword.aspx http://www.job-japan.jp/ http://www.daijob.com/en/ http://job.japantimes.com/index_e.php
    Good luck!

  18. Lisa October 25, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    Yes, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and asking around a lot right now – even if it's an internship for just a couple of days I think it could be very useful!

    Metting up for a chat sounds like a great idea! I'll keep you posted on how it goes with my applications. ^_^

    • kirin October 26, 2009 at 8:19 am #

      Making friends with my blog readers is one of the greatest things I can expect from blogging. Please let me know how it went. ใŒใ‚“ใฐใฃใฆ๏ฝž๏ผ๏ผใ†ใพใใ„ใใพใ™ใ‚ˆใ†ใซโ˜…

  19. Sherryanne January 5, 2011 at 4:12 am #

    In Canada, customer service is very important too however they r not GOD! I worked in restaurant before as a waitress, most customers r pretty nice n respective. Nasty ones usually get me to grab the managers, who deal with them… If u shop too late, u will feel the grudge from staff and even though no one says anything, u'll want to leave hahaha

    • kirin January 5, 2011 at 6:57 am #

      Yeah, I see what you mean. Work environment should not be like here in Japan. Here I can clearly see the unspoken rules: Customers are always superior to service providers. Service providers have to sacrifice their time or effort as much as possible if only that makes the customers happy, or spend extra money for shopping or service.
      I feel as if we were to support masochism if we wanted to work in Japan for Japanese customers. haha!
      It's a little too extreme expression, but I just wanted to say working in Japan under Japanese boss, for Japanese customers and among Japanese staff is stifling.


  1. Tweets that mention Much more freedom and choice for customers in exchange for too much labour for employees in Japan. | Tokyo Kawaii, etc. -- Topsy.com - October 14, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BlogLinkJapan, Heather Meadows. Heather Meadows said: I was always impressed by customer service in Japan, but I never thought about the other side of it. http://bit.ly/gXHBL (by @junkeet) […]

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