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.
Anonymous student post
Almost all people may have desires to be something or to have good lives. However, old people in Japan often say that young people do not have any dreams. In fact, Japan is facing several difficult problems. The situation is severe and makes us gloomy, but it cannot make us give up at all. We younger people have more hopes for our future than they think. No one can jump to the conclusion of someone’s life.
As for me, I have a dream to be a person who can make someone happy and smile as a worker and a person. I really want to get the job which I can help people like refugees. So my biggest aim is to join an international organization. I’m interested in a civil war or developing countries and actually want to play a role in foreign countries.
Frankly speaking, I have no plan to work in Japan because Japan as a nation is too precarious. I think it is difficult for me to see Japan’s future. Many experts say Japan will not able to avoid a decline. Allison’s book also describes the problems Japan is having now. In particular, an aging society with a low birthrate is one of the biggest problems. It will be a burden of our lives. Speaking from my experience, an old woman who lived in front of my house tried to kill herself by jumping from her house. She was alone and lonely in her house and often said to neighbors that “I want to die because I have no reason why I live anymore”. In the end, she was saved, but no one has seen her since then.
Japan has the problems not only about the population, but about individuals. In this case, she needed an ibasho, as Allison’s book showed. What is ibasho? It is even difficult to explain. I think it is where someone feels peace of mind. In my case, when I am with my friends, I feel it is my ibasho. Maybe this is a common. Moreover, when I do what I want. Getting ibasho seems to be easy, however, some people feel it difficult. This may be mental problem. Therefore, it is difficult to explain.
Last of all, I will try my best to achieve my dream even if many people say it impossible. Now Japan has so many problems and is precarious. But it cannot break our dreams, because success depends on ourselves. This is all I want to say. We shouldn’t be pessimistic.
Anne Allison. 2013. Precarious Japan. Duke University Press