Waiting Is Also Fun


What surprises foreigners who come to Japan is huge lineups of people waiting to enter shops, restaurants, etc. In the early phase of the COVID, there were many lineups in front of drug stores even in the early morning, I remember. Those huge lineups are thought to be a symbol to show the patience and politeness of Japanese people. Have you ever looked at them closely? A line of people moving little by little, only looking at their phones with no expression. To be honest, they just look uncanny even to me.

With a few exceptions like some Japanese people, humans basically dislike being kept waiting, but even such primitive human nature may be changing among the new generation people somehow. Do you know a camera app called Dispo? It was launched in the US and has become so popular among young people even in Japan since the beginning of this year. It differs from other camera apps only at one point, I believe. We can’t check taken images on the spot but have to wait until 9 am next day. Some media reports said young people even enjoyed the inconvenience of waiting. Convenience may go too far especially for young people growing up surrounded by all modern conveniences.

Some years ago, we implemented a drastic reform in production system. Our factory was shifted from line production to cell production, and at the same time, succeeded in shortening and unifying the production lead times of the main products to two weeks. It was dreamy days. We finally got free from the troubles of delivery date confirmation. Unfortunately, it appeared to be too rough-and-ready, we had to make it back to the previous multiple lead times: three, four, and six weeks, though we’ve been hard struggling to be back to the dreamy days again. This is why today I’m writing this, hoping customers will enjoy the inconvenience of waiting for a while, like Dispo. The longer you wait, the larger the element of joy becomes.


Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.


Photo Credit: https://www.annexphoto.ca/fujifilm-disposable-cameras-canada


Leave a Reply