Thanks for all your contributions to the discussion. I’m afraid to say that I agreed with pretty much all of the comments on the Japan Today article. In other countries, companies do things called “time and motion” studies. This means that they follow individuals around for a whole day to see what they are doing. The idea is to give them advice to help them to become more efficient. I remember thinking when I first came to Japan that if any time-and-motion people visited a Japanese company, they would probably die of a heart attack!
I realise that my opinion is biased because I have mostly worked in educational establishments, and of course, I do not think that Japanese people are lazy. Quite the opposite, in fact. The problem is expressed in an English proverb: work expands to fill the time available. Put simply, this means that if you think you have two hours to do a job, it will take two hours; if you think you have three, it will take three; and if you think it will take one, it will take one.
I think the reason that Japanese people end up working until 9 or 10 p.m. is that they begin the day thinking that is going to happen. This means that their whole day becomes geared to that final point. When I worked in another university, I had a friend who worked in the admissions (入試) department, which is one of the busiest offices in a university. She was very smart, and she was a very hard worker. One day, the boss of the university decided that all office staff had to leave by six. I remember her telling me 絶対に無理！そんな短い時間で私たちの仕事を終わらせるのはどう考えても不可能！ I saw her again about three months after the system had been introduced, and I asked her how it was going. Her answer was とても不思議なことに、なんとか間に合っています.
Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments.
All of them are very nice and atmosphere in each room looks cozy.
… very nice, and the rooms all look cozy. (There is no need to translate 雰囲気)
And regarding to Tomo’s problems,
Regarding Tomo’s problems…
When I go somewhere abroad, I’m really surprised by the way people continue chatting with their co-workers right in front of a customer!
There was an interesting story in the news yesterday about a shop in England that is now refusing to serve customers if they are talking on their mobile phones when they come to the checkout.
A woman, who excels the others, doesn’t work overtime.
One woman, who was a much better worker than the others, didn’t do any overtime.
These things made me think that they were just scared to be left out from the group, or they thought like if they had missed something just because they weren’t there, it would cause a great damage to their career success.
I think this is a very accurate observation.
I saw your comment right after I posted mine!
This is a useful sentence to learn if you don’t know it.
I am not sure though, “middle-men” in this case not 中年 but 中間業者.
中間業者 is correct.
The book says that there’s an old English Halloween game, called “Bobbing for apples”. Have you ever heard of it?
I’m going to do this with my students next week!
Yes, we do have a trick-or treating every year and I’m rushing to prepare these days.
“These days” is used for more permanent things and longer periods of time. “At the moment” would be better here. (A-Z: now)
but I assume situations have been changing little by little.
… but I think that things are changing slowly.
I think I’m not smart enough to understand your “tweet” above.
I don’t think I’m smart enough… (A-Z: negative sentence word order)
By the way, your sentences sometimes rack my brain
By the way, your sentences sometimes make me think
People have to overwork, sometimes unpaid
People have to work overtime, sometimes unpaid. (“Overwork” means 過労.)
Most of people don’t like that, I think.
Most people don’t like that, I think. (A-Z: almost)
I mentioned about time management before and I think that women can manage time more efficiently than men. (Sorry, David!)
No need to apologise. I agree 100%! I think women tend to do most things better than men, which is one of the biggest problems in Japan because they are not given any responsibility.
How cool he is to be great at his job even if he leaves the office earlier!
“How ‘adjective’ he is” is quite old fashioned. I would say “It’s pretty cool that he is great at his job even though he leaves the office earlier than his colleagues.”
because I haven’t been worked in such offices.
… because I haven’t worked in offices like that. (A-Z: such)
Sorry, “Your right” should be “You’re right”.
Native speakers make this mistake all the time.
Unfortunately, we Japanese have been protected under lifetime employment and the seniority system.
It is better to avoid the phrase “We Japanese” in English. If you didn’t know this, please read the entry “Ten things you should not say to people from other countries” on my blog for teachers.
If you are interested, here is a link of the definition of “odd”.
… here is a link for the definition of “odd.”
Ishihara announced to resign his post just now.
Appalently, he’s going to form a new political party.
The day has finally arrived….
I hope Japanese people will stop voting for nationalist politicians. They will cause great damage to this country. Look at all the money Japanese companies have lost in China because of his idea of buying the islands. And do you really think an 80-year-old should be a political leader?!
Actually until about the half of it, I didn’t feel much interested, but after about the half it become very interested. What I learned in the book was full of surprised.
I felt the same.
「車の両輪」means “a pair of wheels” directly , and it includes all the meanings written above. Does the phrase in English include all those meanings, too? Does everyone get it when I use it like “Work and private life are like a pair of wheels”?
Sorry, that just sounds weird to me. It is often not possible to translate expressions like that.
That’s it for today. I’m going away this weekend, so I might not be able to check the blog very much. If you have any questions, I will answer them on Monday.
Have a great weekend, everyone.