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 Natsuki Nakasone
Now, I am a nineteen-year-old student at Ritsumeikan University. If everything goes well, I will graduate in three years. However, I need another two years in order to get a license since I would like to become a kindergarten teacher. Therefore, in my future plan, I will go to another school while working at a company, and then I will become a teacher. This plan seemed easy to realize, but there are several problems which are affected by the precariousness of Japan.
First, recently, the rate of non-regular employees has been increasing. As Anne Allison said, after the Bubble, many temporary workers played important roles in high economic growth in Japan. This employment system has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it is able to post employees when they are needed. However, the disadvantage is that it also becomes an issue of public concern. There is a possibility that temporary workers will be fired all of a sudden. Therefore, they cannot have a stable life.
Next, the number of children has been decreasing, because the number of people who remain unmarried has been increasing. As a result of this, the demand for nursery school teachers and kindergarten teachers is decreasing, and it is not sure whether I can get an ideal job.
In addition, in Japan women can get fewer jobs than men, because there has been a stereotype that men work outside of the house and women work in the house. Even if some women are fortunate enough to get a job, they often have to leave their jobs to raise their children. In my plan, I would like to have two children, and I might be in similar circumstances. In this precarious Japan, it is difficult to realize my dreams and live an ideal life.
Lastly, I would like to mention a little bit about my ibasho. I think my ibasho is my family, so, since I am still a teenager, an ibasho for me has always been provided by others. However, in the future, I will have to find it for myself. Therefore, it is important for me to get married and to have children in order to create my new ibasho.
As you can tell from what I have mentioned, to get both ibasho and ideal work is not easy in my case. Thinking about this tells me that I am living in precarious Japan.