Its not all bleak workaholism here. While most Japanese work insane hours,... there is an underground rebellion against this.
They are called freeters. These are Japanese who deliberately avoid careers. They work part time jobs. They work full time jobs with no career path. Unlike most, they drift from job to job. When they want a long break, they quit.
In fact, often they not only quit... they leave. This reminds me of a line from Henry Miller, "The French dont quit, they leave". In other words, no notice, no resignation letter....
Many freeters take this approach. When they tire of a job, they simply dont show up again. Ive exercised this option a number of times myself and it is quite nice... something free, easy, and liberating about it. Quitting and giving notice often feels like asking permission... as if you are an indentured servant begging to be released.
So many freeters leave. They leave in order to travel. They leave in order to indulge in a hobby. They leave in order to study a subject that fascinates them (Ive got a few freeters in my English classes).
Many go abroad for short or long periods of time.
In essence, they are Japan's part-time hobopoets.
Which goes to show that even in the most work-enslaved country in the world.... there are alternatives.