A friend who frequents Japan sent this information to me after seeing my last post of sleeping Japanese, always learning, always growing. THANKS KEN!
“Chapter Four: Communicating with the Japanese” of Culture Shock! Japan: A guide to Customs and Etiquette by Rex Shelley:
“Sleeping in Front of You”
“You will be surprised to see some of the Japanese at a business meeting with their arms folded and their eyes shut as though they are sleeping while you are talking to them. They are not doing this to insult you. The common explanation is that they find it easier to understand someone speaking in English if they close their eyes, because they can cut out the visual distractions and concentrate only on the sounds. It is of course true that closing their eyes prevents them from reading your western body-language incorrectly. If the man who is apparently sleeping is of a higher status to the others at the meeting, he may be showing his subordinates that he has confidence in them and is leaving them to handle the matter without imposing his authority on them. The Japanese generally shut their eyes when there is a need to think deeply, as some westerners shut their eyes in prayer or meditation.
“But without a doubt many an executive who has been up late the night before, entertaining a customer, drops off to sleep in the midst of his deep thinking! The Japanese seem to be capable of sleeping almost anywhere. Women have a strong sense of modesty in their sleeping position. Girls must curl their bodies into the modest dignified character Kinjo, which means spirit of control.”