Light… and dark…

The above link is for a time zone map of the world. One of the things that I am having the most trouble adjusting to here in Tokyo, is how early the sun comes up in the morning.  At this point in early summer, the sun rises at about 4:30 am. It starts getting light even earlier. Sunset is about 7 pm right now.  At home in Georgia, the sun rises about 6:30 am this time of year, and sets just before 9 pm. This difference is partly because Japan does not have daylight savings time… and partly because Tokyo sits close to the eastern edge of its time zone, while Atlanta sits near the western edge of its time zone. Whatever the reason…  I am having trouble sleeping in the morning. Once the light starts shining in the windows, I am awake. We even have light-blocking drapes on the windows, but I still wake up as soon as the light glows around the edges.

I don’t mind getting up early — I have always been an early riser — but just not this early. My body has been programmed for years to get up about 6:30 am, and go to bed about 11 pm. Now, I wake about 4 am, and still want to stay up until 11 pm… which doesn’t really allow enough time for sleep. The thing is… here in Japan, even though the sun comes up so early, most people don’t go to work until 8:30 or 9 am. My husband’s official office hours are 8:30am to 5:30 pm.  He usually goes in about 7:45 am… just to get a head start. So… he goes in early, and comes home on time. Some of his co-workers come in on time, and stay later in the evening. My question is, what do people here do in the morning between the time the sun rises, and the time they go to work? Am I the only one who can’t sleep after the sun comes up?

The logical thing, it seems to me, would be to adjust the workday to go along with the sunlight. Start the day earlier and get off work earlier. But we are so tied to clock time, that we can’t switch back to sun time. It would be a really tough thing to change. Body clock versus time clock. There is no solution here…  I will just have to get used to it. This is just an observation of the way things are here. As the days get shorter toward winter, the sun won’t rise quite so early, and I will sleep better. For now, I should get up and do something productive — like study my Japanese — instead of lying in bed worrying about why I can’t sleep.

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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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