When I was teaching at the University of Tokyo in the 1970s, my daily commute lasted 3½ hours.

But, one day, it threatened to last twice as long: with labor strikes having shut down public transportation, my only option was a much longer route using private trains and subways. Rather than spend nearly seven hours traveling to and from campus for a faculty meeting, I decided to work from home that day. To my surprise, the decision was met with censure from the dean of the faculty and disapproval from my colleagues.

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