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Chloe

Time flies so fast in Japan but why?

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Just a few months ago, I was scribbling 2017 on my notes. Now, as similar as all of your struggles, I have to cross out those numbers and finally write down 2018. Wow, what a metaphor it is. Crossing out last year’s struggles and hurdles, and finally welcoming new beginnings this new year has to offer.

*sigh* How time flies.

For the year 2017, the biggest event that happened to me was coming to Japan for the very first time. The memories are still so fresh in my untraveled mind. The breeze was cool. The flowers were pink and white. Pastel colors all around. Yes, it was spring.

Reminiscing the experience now, I couldn’t stop pondering. Was it really 11 months ago when I visited the Land of the Rising Sun? ELEVEN MONTHS? Almost a year had passed when I saw the beauty of Japan. Yet right at this moment, everything is still fresh.

*sigh* Time flies fast, indeed.

Now, for my second time in exploring Japan, some things never really change. I still have this blurry feeling with my time here. The same as my experience almost a year ago, I am going to talk about how fast life is in Japan. Firstly, let’s take a quick look on Japan’s history almost four decades ago.

The Lost Decade and the Kobe Earthquake

Around 1990 – 1992, Japan’s  バブル景気 baburu keiki or “bubble condition” began spiraling downward which caused a major challenge to the country for a decade. This is called the Lost Decade for Japan. Thus, the start of the nation’s economic decline.

Before they can even start recovering from the current crisis at hand, the Kobe earthquake occurred in 1995 adding graver difficulty in solving the bubble burst.

My thorough research has helped me find these and if you are interested to know more, I do believe you can find additional information on the links I will be attaching at the end of this article. So, I would not dig deeper on the misfortunes that happened years ago.

However, let’s talk about what happened AFTER the dark decade of Japan. After some deliberate research, I came to a conclusion that the biggest factor of Japan’s fast-paced life was due to the uncertain future caused by the crises aforementioned.

According to some articles I read, they mentioned at how concerned the Japanese people are of their future. Thus, they “worked extremely hard and made products of the highest quality,” said Ronald Suleski in his article.

Well, Japan’s economy is for another discussion to take. In this blog, let’s start the countdown on the reasons why Japan is fast-paced.

Fast and Assured

Some articles may disagree but the way I see things, the hard work paid off and Japan’s economy stared to look brighter after the crises. Though the economic growth was slow at that time, it was still evident that the labor workforce, who where temporary workers by that time, was the reason of why today, people work as much and as hard as they can.

Fast: Working

While searching, I stumbled upon a website called Slow Japan. Obvious from its name, the aim of this movement is to introduce the “Slow Life” in this fast-paced country. Being an unconventional organization, many people brushed it off thinking, “how can a movement called “Slow” contribute to the economy?”

Fast: Eating

Another reason why Japan functions so fast is culture. Time has always been precious to Japanese and this dated back to the samurai period, continued to the military in the country, and passed on to the citizens.

In the Philippines where people are more on building personal relationships and are emotional, we usually spend a long time over meal. Talking or giving updates usually happens at this time. Also, we tend to stay for a little while even after we finish our meal.

This actually contradicts to the Japanese culture of being courteous and polite. They end their meal to save time, and doesn’t linger for too long so that others who are waiting can have their turn.

Fast: Talking 

Based on a study from tofugu.com, Japanese people are considered the fastest speakers. However,  some contradictions were stated that the language is slow in terms of relaying information.

To support the argument, Japanese tend to talk fast and use more sounds because of, once again, their culture of being polite. I, for instance, have experienced such thing.

Conversing with Japanese for almost four years, they tend to explain their ideas and opinions in an indirect manner and usually beats around the bush. Voicing out opinions in a direct manner is seen as impolite.

Reflections

Being a person from a slow-paced country, it is undoubtedly a challenge for me to keep up with life here in Japan. With all the information I have gathered, I am hoping not to fall behind the lifestyle here. I believe there are more explanations but the aforementioned are enough for me.

Now that I am staying here in Japan for a year, I ought to achieve my 2018 resolution: venture.

Venturing in a new hobby, a new language, or a new part-time business of my own liking.

Venturing means to undertake a risky or daring journey or course of action. And I believe that everyday in our lives, whatever we do, there is always a risk.

One risk I must face now is not to get swayed by this fast-paced country, but rather go with its flow while remembering the memories, the firsts, the confusions, the beauty and everything in between. For sure, I will all be experiencing the great moments I will have in the mesmerizing Land of the Rising Sun.

How about you? Do you have any recommendations on how to gain some profits, enjoy the calm moment, or escape the fast-paced life in Japan? If you have, I would be glad to hear about it! Or even enjoy a conversation in a nice little bookstore/cafe I intend to visit to relax.


Sources:

  1. Bubble burst: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2009/01/06/reference/lessons-from-when-the-bubble-burst/#.WmWErKiWbIV
  2. After the bubble burst: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jii/4750978.0006.303/–japan-after-the-bubble-burst-traditional-values-inhibit?rgn=main;view=fulltext
  3. Lost Decade: https://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/08/lost-decades
  4. Slow Japan: https://slowjapan.wordpress.com/about/
  5. Why do Japanese eat so fast: www.members.eigopass.com
  6. Japanese talking so fast: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/why-do-japanese-people-talk-so-fast/
  7. Pictures are from Google and the sites mentioned.