Japan is one of the hardest working countries in the world. So, at the end of the week, Japanese salary men and women let their hair down with very surprising consequences: Drunk Sleeping.
It happens to pretty much everyone at least once in their lifetime. You’re out drinking with friends and feeling pleasantly buzzed when you get roped into doing a couple of Sambuca shots. Then it suddenly hits you: you’ve drunk too much….
For Japanese people, however, the effects of alcohol are often so much worse. Many Asian people simply cannot tolerate alcohol well, so when they drink more than they should – even if that’s just a few beers – their bodies simply shut down and they fall asleep, dead to the world around them.
We’ve all seen photos of the guy passed out on the floor of a Tokyo subway train, and many have no doubt wondered why, particularly in as conservative a society as Japan’s, this behaviour could ever be considered acceptable. But the truth is, while Japan values hard work over pretty much anything else, its people are also extremely willing to forgive drunken mishaps precisely for that reason. If a salaryman overdoes it and passes out on the train, he was probably just kicking back after a tough week at the office, fellow passengers think as they step over his legs or gently nudge him off their shoulder on the train. Those college kids who can barely stand? They probably just passed some big exam or were offered a job after they graduate.
Getting drunk is something that people do to let off steam, and goodness knows the Japanese have a lot of that pent up inside them.
But besides the trauma they put their body through when drinking to excess (there’s a reason they call it alcohol poisoning, after all), sleeping drunks also risk physical injury, being robbed, and become a hazard to others, so it does seem strange that people should tolerate the behaviour when they can’t the stuff that causes it.
In order to address the situation, Japan’s Yaocho Bar Group decided to turn a few of Tokyo’s snoozing boozers into living billboards. Read the rest of this entry »
The event, which occurred in 1988, was retold beautifully by Tom Purcell in 2003.
Here’s an excerpt:
When Troy was finished, he handed the president the microphone. The normally raucous crowd –remember, this was St. Patrick’s Day –became extraordinarily quiet. “They were spellbound,” said Troy. “I’ve never seen a large crowd that attentive in more than 20 years.”
Reagan spoke off the top of his head. He graciously thanked Troy for having him for lunch. He said it was his great surprise — that his advance men set it up, and he was thankful. He talked about his father, an Irishman…(read more)
St. Louis Police get Standing Ovation at St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The Worst St. Patricks Day Article You’ll Read All Year: How Paul Ryan is Like Genocidal Englishmen
We may have to reserve judgement on the worst article we’ll read all year. It’s still early! Though other lazy NYT op-ed writers have nine more months of blindfolded typing to catch up with him, Tim Egan is definitely a contender.
First, Krugman’s jaw-dropping, quote-worthy Paul Ryan smear, now Reason‘s Nick Gillespie has to clean up after Tim Egan’s smug, lazy historical association flim-flam. Both Krugman and Egan employ the same tactic, see if you can notice the identical device, disclaiming responsibility for responsibility via a weasel-worded disclaimer.
Nick Gillespie writes:
In Sunday’s New York Times, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Timothy Egan likens Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to the English overlords of Ireland’s great potato famine of 1845-1852. Seriously.
Egan says he did a bit of “time traveling” in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day (whose celebration in the form of parades and drunkeness is largely an invention of colonial America). What did Egan find while traipsing about in the Old Sod?
“A great debate raged in London: Would it be wrong to feed the starving Irish with free food, thereby setting up a “culture of dependency”? Certainly England’s man in charge of easing the famine, Sir Charles Trevelyan, thought so. “Dependence on charity,” he declared, “is not to be made an agreeable mode of life.”
And there I ran into Paul Ryan…the Republican congressman was very much in evidence, wagging his finger at the famished. His oft-stated “culture of dependency” is a safety net that becomes a lazy-day hammock. But it was also England’s excuse for lethal negligence.”
But wait, before you dare say that Egan in any way means to compare Ryan to the architects of one of the most heinous acts of imperial brutality, perish the thought:
“There is no comparison, of course, between the de facto genocide that resulted from British policy, and conservative criticism of modern American poverty programs. Read the rest of this entry »