Inemuri - Japanese people napping in public places

Have you ever come across a video or image of a Japanese man sleeping extremely unimaginably on a train in Japan? In this article, we will talk about the Inemuri, the famous Japanese nap.

The word Inemuri it can refer to any nap taken by Japanese people in public places, at work and especially on trains which is very common and frequent. Even I already had a chance to try this nap.

The Meaning of Inemuri

Inemuri [居眠り] is a Japanese word that literally means sleeping while present. It can be translated as sleeping awake, taking a nap, sleeping sitting or taking a nap.

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Inemuri mainly refers to the act of sleeping during an activity. This word involves closing your eyes while paying attention to your surroundings, whether at work, in class, meetings, events or trains. Not that this is always the case.

Inemuri - Japanese napping in public places

O inemuri it is a light nap, the simple act of closing your eyes, sleeping sitting or standing. It mainly refers to polyphasic sleep, short short naps of 20 minutes that if applied for several hours is equivalent to a good sleep.

Some words can be derived from Inemuri as in the case of the word sleep at the wheel which in Japanese is said inemuriunten [居眠り運転]. The word can also be a verb inemuru [居眠る] which means to doze off and postpone.

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Japanese sleeping in public places

Being seen sleeping in public is not a problem in Japan, the practice has been common for thousands of years. People sleep anywhere, from trains, shops, restaurants, cafes and even on benches and sidewalks.

Inemuri - Japanese napping in public places

In some cases it is not a quick nap. Most of the cases of Japanese people stretched out sleeping on the street are drunk or missed the last train. In the worst case it can be a homeless.

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Still, the Japanese just don't mind sleeping in any public place. Other Japanese people who are present at the place simply do not usually bother and just ignore it.

Inemuri - Japanese napping in public places

Do you believe that some can sleep even with a haircut? In some schools it is common to find children asleep during class, and the most that happens is a sensei ear tug or a nudge.

At school, you don't usually make fun of your classmates or go to the office to take a warning for sleeping. Of course, there are limits to how much and how you doze, snoring is already a big problem.

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Japanese sleeping on trains

It is very common to find people sleeping on trains in Japan. Some sleep on their feet, others seem to be concentrated with posture, but they are sleeping.

Inemuri - Japanese napping in public places

Others pass the limit and end up stretching, lying and rolling inside the train, being necessary to give a nudge. Most people practice inemuri on trains, at one time or another, I already did it myself.

Train trips are very relaxing and usually sleepy. Regardless of having slept all night, I kind of dozed off on a train. It seems that riding a train in Japan is like watching ASMR videos.

Inemuri - Japanese napping in public places

Inemuri's practice has been decreasing more and more, especially on trains, thanks to the popularization of smartphones. Now young people sleep less and less when browsing social media or playing games.

Still, it is very common to come across hilarious scenes of people sleeping on trains. The compilation of the video below shows very well how the Japanese sleep on trains and in public places.

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Japanese sleeping at work

Some have heard that in Japan it is allowed to sleep at work, is that true? In some jobs the answer is yea. Some Japanese people have the audacity to sleep even at work meetings.

Taking a nap while working can be seen as a sign that you are doing your best. It may be that the person is exhausted from working so much or simply stayed late at a bar.

Inemuri - Japanese napping in public places

Unfortunately, not everyone can have the privilege of sleeping at work, only high-ranking people or people in important jobs have this privilege. Others simply sleep hidden if the job allows.

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Factory workers or subordinates cannot nap at work, if they do, they may even lose their jobs. Of course, everything depends on your boss, job, position, conditions, working hours, etc.

You can work and watch your boss nap, but you can't do the same. Anyway, practice the inemuri it does not mean that the person is lazy. Just make sure it is not a problem.

Inemuri - Japanese napping in public places

What do you think of Inemuri?

We know that for the sake of our health it is necessary to sleep a minimum of 8 hours a day and a maximum of 10. Unfortunately, almost 40% of the Japanese population sleeps less than 6 hours a day at night.

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Not because they are working, but they like to spend the night on the street and in bars, or to browse the internet and social networks. The Japanese friends I talk to spend two o'clock in the morning on social media.

Some work too hard, this ends up generating mental and physical stress, which interferes with health. Remembering that we don't need to generalize, thinking that Japanese people kill themselves by working, I already talked about this in another article.

Inemuri - Japanese napping in public places

The short sleep periods of the inemuri they help to relax the mind, concentrate better and even rejuvenate and clarify ideas. Perhaps this is one of the main responsible for Japanese intelligence. 

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In some places the rule is to relax without being seen, the person must be physically present and socially engaged. Unfortunately, not everyone can follow the rules.

In general, Inemuri is considered a matter of pride in Japanese culture, while it is considered as shame and strangeness in other parts of the world. What do you think about this?

If you liked the article, I hope you share it with friends and leave your comments. Thank you very much and see you next time!