Raise your hand if napping is your all-time favorite pastime. (*eight billion hands go up*) Great, let’s all move to Japan!
Apparently, public napping is actually a respectable practice in Japan, where it’s known as “inemuri.” There, it’s socially acceptable to nap on the train, in the park, or even at work during meetings. Amazing.
Here in the US, falling asleep during work would certainly be seen as a sign of laziness and/or rudeness. But in Japan, it’s a sign that you’ve been working so hard that you’re simply exhausted. Inemuri translates to “sleeping on duty.” Napping at work is most acceptable for senior employees, and it’s also more acceptable if you’re male.
Inemuri has been practiced for at least 1000 years. People happily nap in all types of circumstances, certain that they won’t be bothered by their peers. Department stores, city sidewalks, you name it. Commuter trains basically become like public, not-very-comfortable hotels.
“It’s very unlikely, if you are sleeping on a train, that someone would try to rob you,” Harvard professor Theodore C. Bestor told The New York Times.
The only social rule is to sleep in a position that’s compact and doesn’t bother others, particularly if you’re a woman. Taking up extra room in public could be seen as rude or inappropriate.
The bad news? Japan is a small, crowded country and likely does not have room to fit all of the nap-lovers of the world. Plus, it’s hard to become a citizen.