It Takes Time

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‘Jikan ga kakaru’ (時間がかかる) is a phrase heard very often in business settings here. Basically, it can be translated as ‘It takes time’. We shouldn’t try to rush things out of their normal sequence or order; much like the old saying:

God, give me the strength to change the things I can,

The patience to accept the things I can’t,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Normal life in Japan also includes many patience requiring steps. People like to think that living in Japan is very convenient; and, compared to most other Asian countries it is so. Japanese society is set around procedures and these take precedence in most transactions. In contrast American society is set around convenience, if a process interferes with ‘getting’ something, then the process is usually modified.

For example, if you want cable in America and have ability to pay, it will be connected swiftly. I want to order cable TV, cable modem, and IP phone service for my new home, but it takes time. The first step was getting a permission slip stamped by the landlord. I presented it to the realtors, they passed it on for approval, and received it back (but didn’t call me, which added time). Now I will take it to the ZTV office and apply for service, I am told that about one week later it will be connected.

Three connection related fees to the tune of about 70,000 yen will be levied upon application. (Due to a special campaign, two other fees will be waived – $1000 in connection charges would have been a killer.) This is another difference between Japanese systems and American systems. Sometimes services cost less in Japan, even though the cost of living is generally high; however, there are almost always heavy fees up front, making entry difficult (particularly for foreigners whose residence is inherently less stable.)

Anyhow, this is just a long way of saying I can’t post much for another week.

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