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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Queue Culture in Japan

Japan is already different from a lot of other countries, but their culture is stands out the most. If you have ever been to Japan you probably experienced the differences in Japanese culture and the culture you come from. For those of you who have not been to Japan it will either be a fun experience or a difficult one. One of the things about the Japanese culture that amazes me id the "queue culture," or the standing in line culture.

In the American culture, it is not a common thing to wait for anything. We have this "immediate gratification" culture that makes us look very impatient (because we are). It seems like no one in America likes to wait on anything. You see people freak out over a 45 minute wait at a restaurant. Waiting is just not our strong suit.

But in Japan, that's pretty much all you do is wait in lines. You've probably seen online about lines in Japan for electronic goods or restaurants. This is very common in Japan, and nothing out of the ordinary. Japanese people will wait for a very long time if they have to, and they'll do it without making fuss. I'm a pretty patient person, so I didn't have trouble blending into the waiting culture in Japan. So for those of you who have trouble waiting, this may be a bit of a culture shock for you.
Waiting in line for a casual restaurant.
When you're in Japan just walking the streets, you may take notice to lines forming outside. A lot of the lines I found were for food such as restaurants and food stalls. These lines will start forming before the place is even open sometimes, and it doesn't even matter if it's a weekday or weekend. Because this is an often occurrence you may be supplied with a menu to look at as you are waiting in line. Not only are you prepared to order and killed some time waiting in line, but in the long run you have just made the line go faster since you will order right away and get your food faster.

I had a Japanese friend who recommend to me the restaurant pictured above. I decided to go for lunch and had to wait for a bit in line. In Japan, a line to a restaurant means something very important. Not the obvious such as it's crowded, but that the place is going to be good and worth the wait. This notion is not wrong. I was very pleased with my meal that day. I even waiting in line for my favorite ramen shop in Kyoto, and it was worth it! Definitely keep your eyes out for lines in Japan when it comes to food. The locals usually know what's good.
Waiting in line at Tokyo Disneyland for the Winnie the Pooh ride.
Then there are those lines for everything else such as theme parks and train stations. These are waits that can't be avoided. Japan is a small country with a pretty big population. It's going to get crowded. On YouTube you'll see vloggers describing how crowded Tokyo is compared to other places in Japan, and they're right! It can get really crowded in Japan, sometimes to the point where it gets to be hard to handle. I'm not big on crowds myself, so I like to try and avoid it if possible. If it can't be avoided I try to distract myself from the chaos.

So when you go to Japan just be prepared for lines and crowds. You knowing all this in head of time, before going to Japan, will make your trip more pleasant since you got a heads-up. And for people who have been to Japan you can just reminisce on all your queue adventures.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about queue culture in Japan. Hopefully it helps people who are traveling to Japan. If you're looking for more Japan content or would just like to chat about Japan, follow me on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

As always, thanks for reading. Until next time!!