The importance of punctuality in Japan- what to do when you are late for work

May 17, 2017


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‘You are late!!!’

Having being working in an Izakaya (Japanese bar) for one and a half year, I have seen my Tencho (shop manager) scolding at foreign part time workers for being late for numerous times. For the Japanese who have been brought up in such a time-conscious society, sometimes it is hard 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 crucial for you to understand the value of punctuality in Japan. In this article, I will be writing about what is ‘being punctual’ for Japanese and what to do when you are late to your workplace.


Punctuality in Japan

As we all might have noticed, Japanese people are concerned about being punctual. It is common sense for Japanese to ‘be prompt,’ and we all need to aware that ‘being prompt’ in Japanese society has a significantly different meaning to that in other countries. For example, if you were told to go to your baito(part time work) at 10, 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 10:00 a.m, it means that your boss is expecting you to be able to start working from 10:00 am and not from 10:15. Therefore, you are expected to come before the time you are told to come and preparing yourself to work.

By now, I think you all have understood how Japanese perceive punctuality and knew that being late just even for 1 minutes can be a huge matter in Japan. Even if you have understood the importance of punctuality, there are still many chances for you to be late for work due to different reasons. So what should we do when we know we are going to be late to the workplace?

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