Hope 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

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

Friends and coworkers in precarious Japan

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

My future plan is influenced by my parents. My mother likes to work harder than other people and really loves her job. Her job is to sell some cosmetics. It looks very difficult because she come back home late at night every day. However, she looks very happy. She really loves her job and has many great coworkers. She is always supported by them, so she can enjoy it. I think she has an ibasho at her place of work, and I respect her. It is very important to have such good coworkers at one`s job.

On the other hand, my father is bad. I think he does not have such an ibasho because he does not like to connect with old friends. Nobody surrounds him. Nobody can succeed in this precarious society of Japan without friends or coworkers who support other people. I do not respect him.

In my future, I want to connect with many people like my mother because it will be useful for my job. For example, if I had many friends who have other sorts of jobs, I can learn numerous good things from them of which I can make use in my job. It means that I can spread my outlook on job. It may help me and connect to an ibasho.

Then, concretely, I will describe my future. I am really interested in some developing countries in the Middle East. Many countries in the area are not able to maintain peace and order, for example, there are a large number of child soldiers in the area who usually kill people. It is unbelievable for Japanese. I want to go to such dangerous area and do research. Moreover, I want Japanese to know the bad situation of this area. In short, I want to become an international journalist. To achieve this goal, of course I need to study hard, but the research will not be enough if I did it alone. In other words, I will not be able to succeed without someone’s help, so I must have great coworkers who can help me. My ibasho will be formed by my coworkers.

In conclusion, I can say that an ibasho will not be formed by just myself. I need a lot of support from other people, so I will not forget my friends who I made since I was a child. It will help me at many difficult situations in the future.