I am, of course, at school, in spite of the fact that I have absolutely no duties to perform. I am most definitely going through a period of culture shock right now.
The Japanese way of doing things is quite different from the American way I'm used to.
Lewis pointed out an informative article on TIME Magazine's site, here, on worker inefficiency. Here is an actual quote that I am not making up:
Japan's labor force is one of the most unproductive in the industrialized world. And not by a little. According to the Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development, a government-affiliated research center, Japanese laborers are 40% less efficient than Americans.40% less efficient than AMERICANS! What's going on here?
Here's a great quote from Outpost Nine (currently mirrored here) on the subject of Oxymorons:
This is a nation that prides itself on it's almost suicidal work ethic. They work until late at night, then go in early in the morning. They work on Saturdays. Sometimes Sundays too. Even holidays. Despite all this working, they're not actually doing much. I can say that when the guy next to me has taken his 10th cigarette break...and it's only 11AM! Hey buddy, maybe if you laid off the menthols you could actually go home *on time*.So, this is the culture I'm immersed in. Despite having no tasks that need performing, I'm required to be at work and to look busy, because that's the Japanese way of doing things. It's not that I don't want to be here at work (I don't mind it so much), or that I would definitely stay home if I could (although I would just do the same thing, study Japanese), it's that I HAVE TO be here, against all logic and reason.
Sure, they are legitimately busy from time to time, but a great deal of time is spent making it look like they're busy, or on tea/coffee/cigarette breaks. Yet, if someone actually skipped the cig breaks and finished his work around 4-5PM and, oh my God!, left, they would be a slacker, an embarrassment to the company.