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Sleeping in Public


An entertaining thing about Asia is how safe men feel sleeping in public places. And how culturally accepted this is. I rarely see this in the US, although in Hong Kong (pictured above), Japan, and S. Korea, I see it quite a bit.

I suppose there are many reasons for this and it’s a fun cultural difference which I have done a bit of thinking about in the past.

Theory One

People in Asia actually work really hard. They’re tired.

When you don’t own a car, more time commuting by bus or train equals less time in bed. I think anyone in Asia learns to immediately fall asleep while riding public transportation.

Theory Two



Asia is safer than the United States, it’s safe to take a nap in a public place.

Or, in the case of S. Korea, spend the night in a big slumber party style jjimjulbang (a bath house/sauna with an option to stay overnight in a big shared room).¬†After enjoying the sauna and changing into special pajamas, men and women are in the same big sleeping room (some jjimjulbang have separate womens’ and mens’ rooms as well). Your stuff is all in a locker in another room, and despite American expectations, it feels totally safe. I stayed in two different jjimjulbang and had no problems.

Theory Three



Too Drunk. Can’t stay awake anymore.

In addition to the above last-train incident, I have literally seen a guy sleeping in a gutter in the street in Japan. Usually people just leave them alone. Maybe a police officer will wake them up and take them home so no one takes their wallet.

At least for men, it’s also more socially acceptable to be drunk in Asia. This could be related.


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This entry was posted on November 18, 2015 by in Living in Japan and tagged .

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