On some occasions, time, even if it is only several seconds, is very important. I had some experiences in Japan regarding the importance of that small amount of time.
In Japan, the most used transportation are trains (電車) or subway trains (地下鉄). The trains usually have very tight schedules. Usually, every 2-10 minutes the trains will come. Here is one of my experiences related to the train schedules.
I have some classes in my university at 10.40 a.m. In order to attend the class on time, the last train I can catch is the 09.59 train so that I can arrive at my destination station at 10.33. If I miss it even only several seconds, I will be very late to attend the class, because the next train will come at 10.08 and I will arrive at 10.47 at the station and I need 5 minutes to walk to the class.
Today, I had a midterm examination held at 10.40. I stayed up all night to study for this examination (while doing some other things though so that I didn’t fall asleep). However, I still fell asleep at about 6 o’clock in the morning. Then I woke up at 09.30, oh my God!!!!! Usually I need one hour for going to university, including the time for walking from my dorm to the station (which I hate very much), the time in the trains, and the time for walking from the university to the class). My exam was at 10.40, it meant that I had to go from my dormitory at 09.40. I tried as fast as I could to take a bath and changed my clothes, then rushed to the station, which is very tiring if you “climb up and down” the road to the station by running.
Well, at last, I couldn’t catch the 09.59 train because I arrived at the station at 10.01. So I had to wait for the 10.08 train. Eventhough I could change to the express train for the Oimachi line, it didn’t worth at all because my destination was a local station. I had to get down at the nearest express station and waited for 6 minutes for the next local train. (This is one of the disadvantages of having express trains in the line). I was counting the time when I would arrive at the class for the examination. I would definitely be late. But I couldn’t revert the time, so I could only sit down and hoped that I could attend the examination. However, maybe today was a bad day for me, the train stopped at one station a little bit longer than usual, and in the end I arrived at the station at 10.50 (3 minutes late from the designated time). It needed 5 minutes for me to walk from the station to the class, so I was late for total 15 minutes. Fortunately, I could still take the examination.
See, I was late 2 minutes for catching the train but in the end I was late 15 minutes for my examination.
*The whole story has so many time details in it because I have a habit to look at my watch (I have owned it for maybe 9 years since my first year of junior high school) frequently especially when I’m late.