When you’re with your Japanese friends especially women and talking about when to meet up next time, have you ever experienced your Japanese friends suddenly taking out their schedule planners from their bags and checking their availability?
If you take a glance at their schedule planners, it seems that they are really busy with a packed schedule every day.
They not only bring planners to work, but many Japanese also carry them every day. Are you curious why they always schedule way in advance for every meeting?
Let’s see why planning schedule is so important for Japanese people in this article.
1. Japan Paper Craft Culture
If you stop by the stationary stores or book stores in Japan, you can find many types of schedule planners, especially from January to March and August to September every year. Many Japanese people, both men, and women are looking for their best schedule planners to buy each year.
Nowadays, thanks to many technological innovations with Google Calendar or several apps available on smartphone, people can easily check and control their schedule. However many Japanese people love to customize their own schedule planners by decorating with colors or stickers in order to make it the way they want.
Origami is also a special feature of Japanese culture, and people in this country have the habit of folding origami crane since they were young. They feel a sort of affinity with things made from paper and this is also true to schedule planners.
2. People Believe “Short Notice” Is Rude
Many Japanese people believe that it is not polite to ask for sudden meetings with their friends because they are likely to urge their friends.
There is a best proverb to describe this situation:
“A hedge between keep friendship green”
No matter if that person is a best friend or just a neighbor, Japanese people still try to avoid inviting friends to their house for lunch or dinner on the same day. They are afraid that others would be busy with work, children, or other dinner plans. They will try their best to predict all the possibilities that can happen before requesting an appointment.
3. Drinking Plans Are Considered Very Carefully
People in Japan are hard-working and they always carefully set up their schedule especially when someone asks them to go out for a drink. They do not want their work to influenced by any reason. Here is the example of a Japanese woman A talking with her friend B to decide when they can go for a drink.
B: There is a great bar in Ebisu, and it’s going to have an opening party from September 26th to 28th.
A: Really? Sounds good!
B: Shall we take a look at the bar? When is convenient for you? I’m fine either dates.
A: Hold on, let me check my schedule.
(checking the week of September 26, 27 and 28 by schedule planner)
A: (A is thinking in her head)
September 26th: I have a meeting from 16:00 with client C this day but maybe
I can make it by 19:00.
September 27th: I have an early meeting from 8:00 on September 28th so it’s a bit of a rush to go home this day considering the paperwork.
September 28th: It’s Friday but I need to go to the dentist early in next
morning and alcohol breath must be uncomfortable for the doctor.
“OKAY, considering these schedules, I think I can make it 19:00 September 26th.”
A: How about 19:00 on September 26th?
B: Sure, let’s meet up that day.
You can see how A was deciding the date after carefully considering her work schedule. She was trying to manage her work and not to overload her schedule.
Japanese people follow the “WORK HARD and PLAY HARD” policy and they don’t want to let people down. So planning the schedule in advance is crucial to Japanese people in order to make the plan perfect.
Checking people’s availability in advance is also one of the tips to have good relationships with Japanese people.
When is the suitable time to ask people to hang out in Japan? It depends on each person, but in general, it is better to ask before 2-3 weeks or as soon as possible so that they have enough time to fix their schedule and prepare for the appointment.
Do you think Japanese people are too detailed and careful?
If you feel that this is too much, just think that Japanese people are looking forward to seeing their friends and they also want to give their friend as much convenience as they can. They don’t want their friends to be stressful when making plans.
If you have a friend like that, don’t you feel great when he or she cares that much about you?
Let’s cherish each day!