One evening at dinner at the Hotel Okura, I asked the waiter if the current subway strike had caused him any problem in getting to work. A strike is a rare occurrence in Japan; and because the majority of Tokyo residents rely upon the subway, a stoppage would cause serious inconveniences.

He nodded and told me he'd walked to work. It had taken him more than three hours. I couldn't envision an American bothering under similar circumstances.

When I asked if he was going to walk home after work, he said he wasn't. The hotel had a dormitory for the affected employees.

Once a year, the workers of the national railroad system go on strike but only for one hour between three and four on a Sunday morning. This hour was selected because it causes the least inconvenience, but it does prove the workers can closedown the system.

This was some time ago. I'm sure it's different today.