Tag Archives: archaic

Life in Japan: Least Favourite Thing

Another week has passed. Time goes by too quickly. Well, it’s time for another question about living in Japan. This is kind of a part two question from the last week.  Again, it’s S. R. Carrillo asking.

What’s your least favorite part about living in Japan?

JPY_BanknotesUnlike the last question, I find this one easy to answer. There are some things I don’t like about living in Japan (cockroaches, very big spiders, drivers who run red lights), but there’s one really big thing that I don’t like.  Banks.

Japanese banks are pretty similar to those in other countries.  They have ATMs, they have bank tellers, they have many services. However, the ATMs tend to only be open during business hours or slightly longer than business hours. But that’s not the worst thing. The banking system is rather archaic.

In Canada, waiting in line to see a teller isn’t that long, and once you’re up there, you can get everything done within two or three minutes with a minimum of paperwork.  Everything is electronic.

In Japan, you take a number and wait.  And wait and wait. Often fifteen to thirty minutes. Then your number is called and you go up, give them the forms, the money (if depositing), and then they give you another number.  As I watch the bank teller, he or she (usually she) works on processing the transaction…on paper. She then hands it off to another person who works on it for a few minutes, still on paper. Then that person hands it to yet another person who works on it, also on paper. They don’t use computers very much.  Finally, they bring it back to the teller, who then calls me up to get my paperwork and anything else.  Total time waiting can be up to an hour, though I’ve gotten through everything in as little as fifteen minutes.  That’s rare, though.

For a country that’s high tech, the banking system is incredibly old-fashioned. And everyone pays with cash! I’m used to that now, but when I return to Canada, I’m going to find it strange using my debit card again.

If you have any questions, check out the original post and leave a comment with your question.  Any comments on this subject, leave them below.

Advertisements