I have no concrete plans for my future

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

I don’t have any concrete future plans now. But 15 years ago, I had many dreams. For example, cake shops, bakery, and teachers. I don’t have a definite dream now. But I have many things I want to do. I want to go abroad and live there, to be rich woman, and to be mother. More than anything, I want to be happy. I like people smiling, especially my friends, my family, and people around me. Their smiling and laughing make me happy, too. I want to be a person who can make people happy, however, this is not a concrete dream.

However, I do not think that I am the only person who cannot find a concrete dream. This applies to many young people. I think many young people in Japan do not have some expectations because they, like me, aren’t able to see the future of Japan. Moreover, recently, Japanese society became like mechanized. Life in Japan seems to be already cast for Japanese families. Mothers should make foods, clean rooms, and do housework. Fathers ought to go to big cities to work, make money, and support their family. And their children should study, and their future, they will ought to work or do housework to support their family. Children tend to have  “one aim” that “they should choose”. Young people are likely to think that this “one aim” is the safest of all to live in Japan. I think these castings  deprive Japanese people of the opportunity to have a dream, too. This system will make people to bother to think about everything, and for example, increase hikikomori more and more.

Then, how we find our dreams? How we have any aims? I think that we should change the mechanized system in Japan. To change this system, Japanese young people’s ambitions to study not for their family or their safety, but for their desire what they want to do should be supported. University students in Japan seem to think that this course of study is not course they really want to study. This problem often happens because many of them only “studied to enter a college that is clever or famous”. If these people have “their own aim”, these problems will decrease and Japanese society and economy will grow. In conclusion, we should change Japanese plans (this is not official, but reality) that all children must study hard, and all children must go to college to work in the future.

I don’t have any concrete future plans now. But maybe I can find my original dream because I was able to awaken that goal. I want to enjoy to find dream, and want to have many dreams like in my childhood.

Doing what you want in precarious times

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

Today, more and more people tend to seek stability and security for their lives, so younger people study hard to go to famous universities and try to get secure jobs. Given the current precariousness of life in Japan, it may be necessary to live in Japan. However, will it really make you happy and comfortable? I don’t think so. The reason is that you cannot always be assured of security and a happy life whatever you get as your job. Also, what makes you happy is not only steadiness. When the whole of the society is not secure and stable, even if you get a secure job, like as a public employee, there is some possibility of failing and losing everything. Now, Japanese society is precarious, and that is why you should do what you really want to do! I know it is difficult to do actually, but it is worth trying because I believe that the current precariousness of Japan means the turn of Japanese society.

For the reasons mentioned above, although my dream is not a stable job, I would like to get the job.

I have had my dream since I was in junior high school. In the future, I would like to work for people and with people in developing countries. They have suffered from poverty, wars, or something difficult. We have to pay more attention to those serious problems and struggle with them to improve and solve more positively. In my case, the first time to recognize those obviously was when I was a junior high school student. In English class, I opened a page of my English textbook and saw a well-known picture. The picture’s name is “The Vulture and The Starving Child” taken by Kevin Carter in Sudan. I was shocked by the picture and I couldn’t concentrate on the lesson at all. It was not until I saw the picture that I recognized what poverty was in developing countries and how people were in those countries. After that I became to think I should something for those people and be interested in some jobs for people who suffer around the world vaguely. Now I would like to be involved in international cooperation as a Japanese and a member of a Japanese agency. Although the current Japan is in unstable and dangerous situation, it doesn’t matter to me. I want to live strongly for not my stable life but my dream.

I cannot imagine my future

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 Shiori Nabeshima

After I became a university student, the time of thinking about my future is increasing. I pondered about the life after graduating school. Although I considered my future when I was in high school, that future meant my life at university.

From when I was a child, the most disliked and hardest question has been about my future or dreams. I cannot imagine my future, therefore I still do not have a dream. Even though I am spurred to think and make a plan for my future, because the time for job hunting is conning closer, two years after from now. My future expectation is obtaining some secure job, marrying someone and having a family. It is not concrete, though I cannot describe my future anymore. One specific hope that I expect for my future is having the same level of life that I have enjoyed so far. Although I expect only one thing, I feel that it is very hard to achieve this goal. When I was younger, in middle or high school, I thought this expectation was normal. But I realized that the life I hoped to have  is not a normal life in Japan anymore. This expectation is greedy and I will need to struggle to gain a better future.

Besides, if I cannot have a lifelong job, I will feel guilty for my parents. My abstract plan for future is also to attain for my parents. So having a ‘normal’ life is one of my responsibility or contribution for my parents which I personally feel. Also family is one of my ibasho, so I do not want to lose it by straining my parents that I fail my future and collapsing my family. This situation of collapsing family is one of the famous problems in recent Japan.

Even Japanese society has various problems and bleak future as the author stated, I have to struggle to live in this society. Therefore I still do not leave my hope for the future.

In the future, I hope I have a secure job (not a temp or contact job) or to be married with someone and having a family in which everybody is satisfied the situation. And then my future child(ren) has a sufficient life such as having enough education. Also I hope Japanese circumstance will not be exacerbated more and the society becomes more tolerant.