Yesterday, at 9:45 in the morning – I was barely out of bed – the doorbell rang and three men in work overalls carrying equipment and enthusiastic smiles were standing in front of my door. Their enthusiasm immediately gripped me as well when they explained they were here to clean my bathroom – hey guys, any time! – but it was a bit dampened when it turned out they only meant the bathroom drain pipes, and not the bathroom itself. When they had also finished with the kitchen pipes and I had signed some paperwork (of course), they had left, after maybe 10 minutes at most.
And in the early afternoon, just when I was finished with lunch, there was another ring at the bell; this time it was a postman carrying the official letter with information pertaining to “MyNumber”, a new kind of identity card for all residents in Japan, including foreigners. As far as I can make out, they need me to send in a photo for the real card; and that card will only be issued starting next year, so I have some time before I do anything with this (and write about it, too).
In any case, those two occurrences show that the Japanese do take their work seriously. Many small companies not involved in selling goods to tourists are closed in the weekends, and although mail is delivered on Saturdays (something completely unthinkable in Europe by now), even the postmen have Sundays off. I can only assume that in these two cases it was easier to come at a time when it can be hoped that most people are at home, so as to make things less complicated for everyone involved.
Still, I would wish that the Japanese would not consider Sunday morning as a good time to do anything…