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Do As Tokyo Does Working Homeless
(Entered Jan. 31, 2008)
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As Tokyo's population and borders get bigger and bigger, an increasing number of people are being forced to live on it's outskirts which, unfortunately for them, is getting farther and farther away from the downtown core which they commute to everyday. Tokyoites have always had a very close relationship with the train, and now with people commuting like, halfway across the country, a curious new by-product of this phenomenon is beginning to emerge, the appearance of a new breed of workers known as the 'homeless salaryman'.

Homeless Salaryman

For these poor souls, their day begins and ends on the train. How does it work? After a 14 hour day at the office, they get on the midnight train back to their 'homes'. When they arrive at that far away station where their home supposedly exists, it's morning! Time to head back downtown on the morning express. Meanwhile their paycheck goes directly to their wives who spend the day shopping, chatting at cafes with friends, watching soap operas, etc.

Homeless Salaryman

The art of sleeping while sitting has many masters here in Tokyo. The professionals make it look easy, but sometimes you'll be sitting beside the ones who snore and make noise, or those who find it necessary to slowly lean into you until their heads are almost resting on your shoulders. Pushing them back upright will only give you a few seconds of reprieve, then the process begins again. They will neither wake up, or get off the train in your lifetime. The only real solution is to find a new seat or punch them in the face. Neither is really an attractive option.
A homeless salaryman having read a bit before bedtime.

Homeless Salaryman

Others don't even bother trying to go home anymore, but just curl up on the train platform for a few hours. A hotel would be out of the question as the allowance they get from their wives is only enough for them to buy a small lunch.

Homeless Salaryman - Sleeping on Platform

I suppose it might be easier to sleep at the office, but nobody wants to stay at their office all day and all night, that would be crazy right?



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