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Coffee machine observations in Japan

This entry was posted by on Tuesday, 4 October, 2005 at

Every office has them. You know the type. The people who leave just enough coffee in the machine so they can say “but there was coffee left, so I don’t have to brew any new!” 😐 Lazy bastards, that’s what they are! If you drink the last coffee in the pot, go ahead and friggin refill the machine! It’s so annoying!

Thing is, this problem is compounded in Japan by the “male chauvinist” factor! It seems almost all Japanese men feel it is beneath them to make coffee, so it’s up to the women in the office to brew new coffee when the time comes. This annoys me even more – but being in Japan I guess I should expect no less…

Nothing beats a hot cup of delicious coffee in the morning

I sit right next to the coffee machine here at work, so I get to see these things in action and since the machine is pretty much always in my field of view, it’s hard not to notice trends and so on and start analyzing the whole coffee-brewing thing from a psychological and sociological perspective… Basically, you can divide up the office staff in three types when it comes to fetching coffee:

1) These people head for the coffee machine, but when they (from a distance away) see that there is no coffee in the pot, the casually change course and either walk past the machine (“I wasn’t getting coffee!”) or to the water-cooler next to it (“I wasn’t getting coffee! I was getting a cup of water!”) so that their conscience is clean when it comes to refilling the coffee machine…. Devious people! Hard to say anything too, since they fake lack of interest in the coffee…

2) These people are more honest about their lazyness (or pride) – they simply walk up to the coffee machine, and if there is no coffee in the pot they simply sigh and walk back to their seat. Alternatively, they walk to another coffee machine at another part of the office to try their luck there.

3) The rarest type of people are the ones who actually, upon seeing that the coffee needs refilling, puts on a new pot of coffee! This is so rare but every time someone does it, it’s a joy to see (and smell! Did I tell you I sit right next to the machine?) in my office (and I think it’s the same is virtually every office in Japan) almost only women belong to this group of people. I have seen only two (2) men (out of probably 30 or so sitting in the vicinity of this machine) brew a new pot of coffee; and one of them is a foreigner!

It’s just one more subtle pointer about how badly women are treated in the workplace here in Japan….


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