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In Japan, trains come and go on time. Buses run on time. So do subways and planes. The public transportation system here is super punctual and reliable. We take that for granted. If there is a significant delay, you will find someone shouting at staff members. Then, what about people in Japan? It highly depends on the person, to be sure. I hear there are such college seniors these days who are bold enough to be late for their job interviews -- They are simply stupid and sloppy. In general, the Japanese are punctual.

Things are, however, different in my town, or in Hokkaido on the whole. It is generally said in Japan that people in Hokkaido are open and natural, like its broad area. That may be so, but in other words they could be just...sloppy. If someone calls you and says he will come over at 2 o'clock, chances are he will show up at around 2:20 or later. He may say, "I'm sorry I'm late," if you are lucky enough, but actually he is not sorry at all given the situation normally seen here. If you find there is something wrong with your toilet and call a fix-it company, chances are they will never show up, forever. It turns out later that they have simply forgotten the call. That's the way things go in my town. I hate it. I hate it because making someone wait is robbing the person of her/his own time, meaninglessly or worse. Though it's my hometown, I'm in no way proud of that.


The few days I was in Hokkaido in 1996, I didn't notice that they were any less punctual than other Japanese people. But, then, perhaps the wide open spaces and a frontier mentality make the inhabitants more laid back than in other parts of the country.

Interesting, Very interesting. I got the feeling that Hokkaido was the Montana of Japan. I read once (and who knows how old this statistic is) that Hokkaido had 20% of the land mass but only 5% of the population.

I think you're right, M, though I don't know what Montana is really like. ;) The statistic is also right!