“Japan’s sozzled salarymen: the lost tribe in a modern pickle” by Alastair Himmer (Japan Today)
Japan’s identikit corporate samurai are cultural shorthand for the world of work, an army of back office grafters that swelled as the country’s post-war economic miracle took shape.
They squeeze daily onto famously crammed rush-hour trains to work lengthy shifts at the office—12 hours or more is relatively common—not daring to leave before their managers.
In the evenings they might be boozing with clients or summoned to practically compulsory company drinks, where much of the corporate bonding goes on.
Unsteadily, many rush later that night onto the last train, desperate to avoid the exorbitant cost of a long-distance taxi ride home.
Most struggle manfully to stay awake, fearful of missing their stop, but the sight of those who gave in—snoring, dribbling and with their suits askew—is not uncommon.