Snoozing here, there and everywhere: A unique sleeping habit of Japan

On the train to and from work, sitting down, standing up, at work, at school… in public places, people in Japan (including politicians) are nodding off whenever they can. It’s part of the scenery day and night in Tokyo, a “city that never sleeps”. At least, not for a full eight hours. Naps don’t count!

The Japanese word for nap (inemuri) comes from the combination of two words, iru (basically, being in a place or being present) and nemuri (sleep), and is often translated as “sleeping while present”. Of course, there are other words for nap such as utatane and hirune, with slightly different connotations, but inemuri seems to imply that you are sitting up, on the job, present and accounted for, but just happen to have passed out from sheer exhaustion.

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