« Book Notes: Everything Bad For You Is Good for You | Main | Book Notes: Ignorance »

March 21, 2006



This is interesting, because Yuki is having similar frustrations in the US. I've tried to convince her that if she thinks she is getting unclear advice, she needs to double check with others in the office. Most recently she has been applying to a UW program in Korea and a counselor assumed she is an international student even after Yuki informed her she was a Washington resident. (She should have said "US citizen" since she is one now.) This has resulted in repeat trips to the office and a two week delay.

Now I know that incompetence is just as common in Japan, but in the group scenarios Kimiko describes Yuki would have been better served. She is having a hard time learning to challenge counsellors, teachers, clerks, etc. Another example: She was told at the post office that she couldn't pick up our neigbhor's mail, even though the proper arrangements had been made and she had her ID ready. On a return trip another clerk handed over the mail without even checking her ID. Go figure...

BTW, normally I find Kimiko to over generalize and some of her insights lack scrutiny, but here I feel she has a point.


I agree that she is more accurate with this column than some of her past discusssions, but I think she lets the Japanese off easy here.
Here's another example of ineffeiciency that I often run into: if you make a mistake on paperwork you often have to start the process over instead of crossing it out, which I think is a huge waste of time-another example of not being able to work outside the "process."


When I went to England I felt that the English were more system orientated than Australians. By way of example, the relatively simple task of receiving and checking Jeleesan's nursing qualifications and experience took about 11 months because the system kept breaking down. Records were never filed, forms never sent, and there was never a single person who was able to take charge and fix the problems. You couldn't even talk to a manager. If the system had been good then I suspect the whole prcoess would have seemed painless, but the system was bad, and nobody seemed capable of working around it - much like Japan I expect (at least their systems are generally well made). I imagined that beaurocracy could not get any worse than this, but Bill Bryson (the ex-pat American writer) said that after he went back to America he found that the American beaurocracy was worse than in England. I think the moral is that beaurocracy sucks the whole world over, and seems to bring out the worse in each county's collective personality.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

August 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

Blog Groups