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
In my future, I have some plans to live with my children and my parents at a house for a two-generation family.
I lived with my parents and grandparents in the same home for 18 years. Now, I live in Kyoto alone and I don’t know much about what does my family does recently. And my grandparents moved to a new house from the two-family house. My grandfather is suffering from cancer and he needs somebody’s help. But mainly my grandmother cares for him because they live in a different house from the house where my parents and brother live. So I hear from my mother some reports of my family’s latest news, it is often about grandparents, and she sometimes said such as “we hadn’t known it up to now.” I worry about the case of my old grandmother cares for my old grandfather when if something happens to them. To live with only old persons has some risks and hardships.
As I consider my future based on my experience, I want to live in a two-family house. In this house, when something happens for old persons or someone in family, the family member can support them easily. And from other points of a two-family house, the house has a good effect on children and parents. Because, in the case of both working for a living and they live at a one-family house, when they are working, their children have to go a children’s hall or stay alone at home. But if they live in a two-family house, then grandparents can care for the children. Actually, my mother and father working together, so I did not have much time to spend together. But I did not feel lonely because then I played and ate with my grandparents. They often cared for me and I liked those times. It was my ibasho.
The one of the causes of precariousness in Japan is people feeling lonely or feeling alienated from other people. I think that problems such as hikikomori and kodokushi are caused by feelings of helplessness or isolation. To live in a two-family home is very important point to decrease the rate of those problems in recent Japan. And the situation can make ibasho for someone.
My future plan is to live in a house for two-generation family. And I want to make ibasho for my family, as I was with my grandparents and I didn’t feel lonely.