Last week it was graduation time for many Japanese college students. Ceremonies are followed by pictures, speeches and drinking parties.
Once the hangover is over, a new life starts for many young men and women who have been enjoying themselves for 4 or more years and occasionally working part-time. Paradoxically, most of our students, who specialized in foreign languages, will become different kinds of typical full-time full-life office workers in Osaka, Kyoto or Tokyo. Others will move to their hometowns to work in small family businesses. A bunch of them will be 塾 (cram school) or public school teachers. A few others will be part of the safe Japanese police department, working as translators. And the fewest will go abroad and work for Japanese companies for a small salary but a valuable experience. But there are also many who haven’t found a proper job yet and keep on trying, being part in the meanwhile of the so-called フリーター (Furita) world: free time because you only work part-time but also low wages and no stability at all. In The Daily Mainichi newspaper I read two weeks ago that this year a 20% percent of the graduating students in Japan wouldn’t be able to find a job. Considering that job hunting is an activity that starts in their 3rd year and goes on full-time in their 4th year of classes, it’s normal that they feel depressed. The other day, I tried to advise them not to give up and keep on trying. The Japanese too often use the expression 失敗した (I failed), as if the rest of their lives depended only on a tight scheduled job-hunting and if they lose the train, everything would be lost. Well, if there is something good about life is that most times it gives second and third chances. So, 頑張ってね。¡Ánimo!