Running for My Life

Editor’s note: Students have been reading Anne Allison‘s Precarious Japan and are commenting how recent economic and social challenges in Japan are impacting their plans for their futures.

by Miki Yamaguchi

In Precarious Japan, Anne Allison looks at the current situation and problems which Japan faces now. The country where are believed it is full of hopes and wealth no longer exists. Instead of that, people struggle in enigmatic mud. Although it is not easy to lead a steady life, we young generation shouldn’t lose our expectation. And from now, I would like to describe my future plan as one of the young, based on Anne Allison’s study.

My dream is to work for a trading company, because I’m very interested in unique merchandises and imported food which are rarely seen in our table. I think, however, salary, working hours and a system of paid vacation are also considerable. Of course it is lucky to be able to get a job which meets every conditions, I know the society is not so naïve. In fact, I have anxiety and concern for future. My greatest worry is a relationship with our co-workers and bosses. As Anne Allison stated, it’s common to see a company man (kaisha ningen) in Japan. On weekend, fellow workers go lunch and play golf all together, not spending with their family. Furthermore, these gatherings are thought to be more or less influential their career. This system plays a role to create bond (kizuna) among colleagues, I think, however, for women like me who want to make child, this will be affecting their life plans. This means once women quit their jobs for a maternity leave and lose the too tight relationships suddenly, they feel lonely or even feel isolated the society. Unfortunately, the husband also is tied this system and so he works all day and comes home very late. And while the husband is in his company, women have to raise child and do her household. This life style seems very stressful (ikizurasa) and I do not lead such a tired life.

I believe my ibasho is my home in Nagasaki, and my another hope is to create a warm family. In order to balance my work and family life, and make child-raising more happily and enjoyable, husband’s cooperation is important. For example, it very helpful for women that he takes care of his baby on weekend and try to share housework every day. Also the relationship with fellow mom (mamatomo) is necessary, because a complaint and information about parenting can be shared.

Building my career is important, nevertheless I want cherish my family. And under any circumstances, I don’t want to lose my expectation and want to live my own life. To become such a woman, I take the current situation sincerely and consider my way of life.


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