Hiro has been working crazy hours.
I could count on one hand the number of times in the last 6 weeks that he has been home before midnight. In Japan this is not so bad really, because 'he has Saturday and Sunday off ... doesn't he?'
On Wednesday he called to say it was dai san suiyoubi (the third Wednesday of the month) which has just been declared "go home early day" in his division.
He was home by 9!
A fluttering breeze of change...?
An actualization of the 'work life balance' idea that is occassionally cropping up in the media these days?
Attitudes are hard to shift though... the mayor of Tokyo's Bunkyo ward recently made headlines for taking two weeks of paternity leave. He copped quite a bit of flack from consitutents concerned about his lack of committment to the job, and there were expressions of concern about how the ward would cope in the event of an emergency.... (a grave problem since Japan has no telephones, faxes, newspapers or other telecommunications infrastructure...)
And so in practice it is with Hiro's work place too.
The 9pm Wednesday was followed by a 3 am Thursday.
Work life balance indeed.