If you can say yes, congratulations! In a recent R25 magazine review of 398 Japanese males in the age range of 25-35 I was happy to find that only 2.8% said they did not enjoy their free time. While this might seem not surprising, I need to point out that I face from time to time the comment that Japanese do not know what to do in their free time and are quite often bored. Consequently I was curious about the actual results. Personally I was surprised that solely 10.8% responded that they truly enjoy their free time. The biggest share of 65.1% is able to enjoy somewhat their free time. I am wondering why there is such a big gap of the response of enjoying free time very much to solely somewhat. Potentially the difference could be based on a difference of expectations or then the wording of the question.
So let’s have a look what could be missing? Looking at the top 5 wishes for those men, who seem not so happy during their free time:
1. Having time to focus on a hobby
2. Spending relaxing time
3. Time to study something new
4. Time alone
5. Having a girlfriend
Then compared with the expectations of those men who are already somewhat happy in their free time, shows that there is not much of a difference:
1. Spending relaxing time
2. Having time to focus on a hobby
3. Time alone
4. Having a girlfriend
5. Eating something delicious
So what is my point you might ponder: Even though the image of Japanese salarymen as being bored and having a joyless life exist, actually the reality is different. So next time when you encounter a Japanese man looking bored, in reality he is enjoying time alone.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)