Japanese and Napping

One of the most enviable Japanese traits is the ability to doze off almost at will, in any position and at any time. It is a common sight here to see people sleeping on subway or train cars. Indeed, in early morning hours or on late trains most of the passengers will be fast asleep, some in funny positions. Yet somehow they all manage to get up just before their stop.

Less common, but not unusual, is the habit of business men to take short naps during meetings, especially if the forum is large. The meetings carry on uninterrupted, those awake respectfully ignoring those asleep.

Someone took pictures of sleeping Japanese, mostly men, in public places. Although some of these may not look genuine, they will not seem strange to anyone familiar with Japan.

Perhaps the Japanese take the “power naps” recommendations seriously. But they have a long way to go. One time, on a business trip to Taiwan, I entered an office building around 1pm, just after lunch-time. Every single employee in the large open-space working area (20-25 in total) was fast asleep at his/her desk, head resting on a pillow. I had to tiptoe quietly to the conference room at the end of the hall for my meeting, lest I woke anybody up…

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