Feb 18Liked by Rei

As a member of this Lost Generation, I appreciate this post. Particularly the tragic story of Ryo (her name is irregular) Nishimura. It's depressing seeing how corporate life has no opening for people like her, who, even if they want to leave academia and get regular jobs, can't even get entry level positions because they're the "wrong" age, have degrees that are too advanced, et cetera.

I attended grad school here. Worked an odd shift, had afternoons free, so I looked into a grad program (in a humanities subject I had wanted to go into more deeply in undergrad and couldn't) at a top national university, and got in.

I never had any expectations that it would lead to career success, and enjoyed my studies and research for their own sake. I would have enjoyed them more if society didn't continue pretending that having such a degree automatically meant riches and respect when only a tiny fraction of graduates will ever get those things.

My department had six seats open each year for their master's program, and the year I applied, I was the only one accepted. At the time I ascribed the lack of applicants to the declining birth rate, and was happy to have gotten in, but later I began to think the opposite: "Everyone else was smart enough to know that grad school offers you no opportunities, hurts your career prospects by making your personal history so irregular, and will guarantee that you're seen as an underachiever by society. I'm not one of the smartest; I'm one of the dumbest."

Compared to my academic friends, I'm downright lucky to have kept my boring office job all these years, continuing to make a salary close to the national average, and I keep my grad school degrees a secret in the workplace. I'm still very glad I did it, but if I had it to do over, I would have been much more careful about talking about it in public.

Society has been really slow to pick up on how much harder times are now, and continues to shame people for not being as successful as pretending not to notice that it takes a lot more effort that it once did to avoid becoming a member of the "precarious" working poor. There's still a lot of shaming coming from the top 10-20% toward anyone who hasn't had the success that they take for granted.

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Would you be able to recommend any books/memoirs about the culture of Japan during the late 1980s? Most of the tracts I've found have been business books, very abstract and impersonal.

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For someone who has been fascinated by Japan's economy and had been surfing the internet for good quality reading this is a treat !!

One request though: Where can I get katsuhide kageyama book "redoing economic history" ?

Can't seem to find it

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