Inemuri – The art of Sleeping in Weird Places
If you have ever visited Japan or even watched a movie or series based in the beautiful country, it is highly likely at some point you spotted some people sleeping in what seemed like a strange location. You will find them in all sorts of crazy locations, standing in the train, the sidewalk, work office, and park benches, seemingly everywhere except their own bed.
This is such a common situation within the Japanese culture that they even have a specific word for ‘sleeping at work,’ known as Inemuri, and while it may be frowned upon in most Western countries, it is often seen as a sign of a hardworking and dedicated employee.
In Japan, the average person works 50 hours, and some people, especially those who are younger and do not yet have family, are expected to work 18 to 20 hours per day, often 6 days a week. Aside from this, working culture is so extreme that while employees are entitled to 15 days of paid vacation, many actually take less than half of this amount.
Culturally, the high pressure to succeed and work long, but not necessarily smart, means that even at a young age, students are encouraged to participate in Inemuri. A study undertaken by the Japan Youth Research Institute found that the number of Japanese students napping during class was 45% higher than students in the US.
In essence, the Japanese culture encourages the practice of Inemuri, and for many people, it is the only way to survive long commutes and even longer working hours.