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「入って間も無い千穂だが、こういった隙間隙間できちんと仕事を求めて立ち回るのである。」

The context of this sentence is that 千穂 is a relatively new worker at a fast food restaurant and was, just before a customer entered, talking to her coworker. It is mentioned that at the current moment nobody was at the register (which is not inflicted with any working-rules or anything). Further it is mentioned that this is not a terribly busy time for the restaurant.

I was just wondering why 「隙間」is repeated here. In my eyes the sentence would make sense without this repetition as well.

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隙間{すきま} here is used to describe "Whenever you have time you have no particular task". Probably in most business, chore work usually has not been completely done at once.

So, when you have free time, you should be able to find something to do in the restaurant. Probably doing less imminent tasks such as refilling dish-washing soaps or you can hand out flyer on the street or asking another drink from customers, etc. other than doing cashier register or cooking food and serving meals to the guests.

Co-worker might be expecting working more adaptively from moment to moment at the restaurant.

I think it is irrelevant if 千穂 is new worker or not and is not limited to the restaurant. My co-worker at the office send messages like 「スキマ時間で、これ手伝って頂けると有り難いです。」 "If you have spare time, it would be grateful to help get this stuff done"

Recently I see スキマ(時間) more often than 隙間{すきま} in business news paper, but I think its meaning is the same.

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    You haven't actually said anything about why 隙間 is repeated – that is, why it's 隙間隙間 instead of just 隙間. That's what Himula is asking about. – Nanigashi May 6 '20 at 1:40
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    @Nanigashi Probably I have missed the context though, I think it's bit hard to explain it just as a rhetoric/idiom like "tuna fish". If I work at restaurant and am asked what is the meaning of "隙間隙間", I'd reply "If you have time, you should find something to do such as X,Y,Z." I mean you actually do not have to worry about the location of 隙間 i.e. "the gap between things and things". But I think "from moment to moment" in 3rd paragraph is close to 隙間隙間. Anyway, thanks for the clarification. I would like to wait OP a little bit. – kimi Tanaka May 6 '20 at 2:18
  • I think I got the hang of it (it basically being an idiom); however now I am a bit confused about the rest of the sentence. The sentence was not uttered by any character in the novel, so I am wondering about the part you said about the co-worker wanting her to work a little more actively. To me it meant something like: Although 千穂 has only started working there, she actually prefers the "real" tasks of her work over the ones she is doing in between. She would take working "harder" over her activities in スキマ時間 or here 隙間時間. – Himula May 6 '20 at 7:42
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    @Himula Thanks and I might have misunderstood what you want to actually know. I think it's this 隙間隙間 is emphasizing she is voluntary trying to use her "spare-time" efficiently. i.e. "take working "harder" over her activities when she has time. This 隙間隙間 may also be indicating to repeat "busy time and not busy time". Thanks for the clarification. – kimi Tanaka May 6 '20 at 8:02
  • Maybe it would have been better of me to be more precise in the original question. Anyway, thank you for making it clear now! – Himula May 6 '20 at 8:28

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