Average workdays in Tokyo

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The Average Japanese Workday Morning

In most Japanese workdays, we begin like everyone else around the world. Get up, bathe, and eat breakfast before the workday starts. However, Japan is a bit different. Here the most popular mode of transportation consists of public trains. From big to small, all people love taking these trains since it’s a cheaper and quicker alternative to driving a car.

As a result, if you work around rush hour (8 am – 11 am) it becomes a game of ‘How many people can fit in a train’. It gets so bad to the point that either employees or random people shove people inside the train to make room for everyone to fit. It does not feel very comfortable I would say, but it’s part of the morning routine for many people here.  Once you arrive at your station, you need to shimmy your way out and pass through the payment gates.

Time for Work

Now that you arrived at your destination, it’s time to start working for your company. Make sure you arrive at least 10-15 minutes early to work because the Japanese take punctuality very seriously. When arriving at work, always make sure that you say Ohayo Gozaimasu to your colleagues and supervisor. Alongside that, make sure you bow at a 30-45 degree angle to show respect (and not get fired).

Make sure you establish constant communication with your boss because, in Japan, any steps taken on a project should be approved by both colleagues and the boss. Finally, before you leave the workplace, bow and say: Otsukaresama. This translates to “I  am sorry for leaving early” and it’s essential to say to show humility for leaving before others that are staying behind to work. If you follow these principles, then you will establish a good relationship between you and the company.

My Experience

Currently, I am an intern for an international cryptocurrency company, so these etiquettes are not as practiced as in traditional Japanese companies. However, I follow these principles only when necessary to build a stronger relationship with my colleagues. It is important to build a wide window of connections with your coworkers, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. In conclusion, working for a Japanese company helped me realize that the world has unique ways to create relationships. Average workdays in Japan center around growing your network and establishing relationships with your coworkers through interesting ways.


Javier Ayala: Mechanical Engineering Intern at EMURGO.