Punctuality is much appreciated in both professional and personal settings. However, in our personal lives, we tend to take a more laid-back approach to it. We all have that one friend whos “Bhai I’ll be there in 10 minutes,” usually translates into us waiting outside the restaurant until happy hour gets over. This very same friend though, won’t risk doing this with his boss, because bro needs the money.
A professional setting does require discipline and punctuality is more often than not, a make-or-break factor in this. This is especially true in Japan, as they have an extremely strict policy of doing things on time.
Last Friday though, this reputation took a major hit as a train leaving from Notogawa Station, left 25 seconds too soon.
Now you might start laughing remembering our desi trains that often deign to show up even hours after their scheduled time. But this is Japan buddy, time is money here.
According to Sora News 24, the error occurred when the train mistakenly pulled away from the platform at 7:11:35 a.m instead of 7:12:00 a.m.
The mistake happened as the train conductor evidently believed the departure time as 7.11 and closed the doors accordingly. And though he realised his error almost immediately, he did not open the doors again as the entire process of opening and closing them again would result in the train being late. Moreover, he inspected the platform and saw no one waiting to board the train and thought it was safe to leave. However, there were a few people hoping to board that particular train to the Nishi-Akashi Station, and they ended up missing it.
One of them complained about it to a station attendant, who contacted West Japan Railways (also known as JR West), and the company issued an apology in a press release. They said:
“The great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable. We will be thoroughly evaluating our conduct and striving to keep such an incident from occurring again.”
Yowza! Now that’s a lot of hocus pocus for a mere 25 seconds right? Well, this is Japan we are talking about and here being late to work or school carries serious consequences. The next train to leave Notogawa for Nishi-Akashi was at 7:19 a.m., making commuters planning to leave in the 7:12 a.m. service, six minutes late.
Maybe we could learn something from them. Here we often find ourselves waiting for hours without a clue as to when to actually expect our train, whereas Japan’s practice of apologising for being mere seconds early is praise-worthy. No? Just a thought. Yikes, I’m late for my bus!