Tag Archives: japanese

Japan’s Lost Generation

Slain English Teacher

This has been all over the news here in Japan. A British girl teaching English in Japan was found murdered in an apartment, buried in sand. According to reports, the teacher, Lindsay Hawker, was caught on CCTV in a cafe with the suspect, one Tatsuya Ichihashi, to whom it is believed that she had given English lessons to. In case anyone is interested, Hawker was teaching at NOVA, the largest eikaiwa (English conversation) school in Japan and recently in the days for the arrest of some teachers for possession of cocaine.

Two interesting points about this piece of news. First, the police actually had contact with the suspect, but had inadvertently allowed him to escape (barefoot!). They have not found him yet. Perhaps the cops were too busy with their “sumimasens” and “irasshiamases” to actually to do any catching.

Second was the discussion of the so-called lost generation in Japan. This was a loner kind of guy who had been stalking the British girl. A nice summary (or rather stereotype) is provided in the link above, whereby the suspect is described as not having worked since graduating from university (studying horticulture!) and lives a life surrounded by violent manga.

It certainly is true that a lot of young people nowadays drift after graduating from university (or high school), working for a while to save some money before spending it all on more entertaining pursuits, such as travel. While this is perhaps not exactly socially desirable, I think it is also a more sensible way to live, instead of working for the next 40 years and finding yourself not being able to enjoy life the way you could while young. I mean, wouldn’t you rather climb Everest at 25 rather than 52?

Gung Hei Fat Choi

So … It’s now new years day. The year of the pig. Supposedly the year of yesterday, my year, the year of the dog was to have been good to me. Major changes did happen such as the move from Singapore to Japan. Good? Hm. Japan is a difficult place to understand. This is true for most people, but I must point out that I actually speak to regular Japanese all day every day for my job … you would think that this would make it easier, but it just adds to the enigma. There IS NO typical Japanese just as there is no typical anyone else. Some have prescient thoughts on the nature of reality while some insist that the answer to “how are you?” is “hamburger … corn” while giggling hysterically.

All Look Same

ALL LOOK SAME: “Aye, and there is the rub. National versus ethnic identity has created the ideology of being a ‘dash-American.’ No one else in other countries identify himself as an ‘Chinese-English,’ ‘Chinese-French,’ or a ‘Chinese-Kiwi.’ A ‘Chinese-American,’ ‘Japanese-American,’ or the all-encompassing ‘Asian-American’ exists only in America where it suggests: A) I am not FOB (fresh off the boat), B) Don’t ask me questions about ‘feng shui’ or what my Chinese name is, or C) Watch what you say around me.