Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.
by Yume Furumura
When I imagine my future, I have two images. First, I have a job and I can be myself. Second, I have my happy family, good friends, and nice neighbors.
I have not decided specifically what sort of business I would pursue yet, but I have some ideas. In Japan, women tend to be discriminated against in the society. Therefore, in case that I decide to work for a company, I will try to find a company that considers women’s life cycles. For example, it is better that has an environment in which taking childcare leave is easy. Then, I’m considering another plan these days. In my university life, I found some things I was interested in. That is to encounter people, to teach something, to do for other people. Moreover, I love traveling and like children. These are why I think that to be a Japanese teacher in foreign country suits me well. However, even though I could obtain the license, I can’t be always a Japanese teacher. Even if I could be, the income would be unstable. I may need a second job or lose jobs, and it would be difficult for me now. I need to learn any skills, have a lot of experiences, and get some qualification for a rainy day.
I need someone who I can talk to about anything in order to live. The place I can spend a time with my parents or valuable friends is my “ibasho” now. Once, I used to think that I would like to live alone and establish myself. However, it was very lonely. After leaving my hometown, I understood that it was hard for me to live alone. I was helped by the friends and neighbors I made in a new environment. In my future, I don’t want to live alone and die alone. Therefore, I want to marry a nice man and have children. According to Anne Allison (2013), by becoming a sarariman or education mama, the child tends to be “hikikomori”, and the home has failed to produce a productive child. When I raise my children, I’m going to let them do what they really want to do. In my case, I have never been told “Study more” by my parents, so I want to be like them too. In addition, even though I will work raising children, I’m going to spend enough time with them. Finally, I’m worrying about my parents from now on, because I may not be able to stay with them. If I could, I want to live with my parents after my marriage, otherwise I will get them to live in a region they have good neighbors. Allison (2013) states that in Tokyo alone, ten people die from “lonely death” (kodokushi) every day. Including me, when someone in my family die, I hope that they pass away in their “ibasho”.
These are my future plans and my expectations for my future.
Allison, Anne. 2013. Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.