30 November, 2006

Last Entry as a Job

So today will be the final day for me to write this blog. Well, starting back in February, I did write about all kinds of things quite randomly. When I couldn’t think of anything to write about I most times ended up writing about the weather, and when I was so focused and enthused about one topic I went on forever like the one on Okinawa.

Even though it was part of my job, it was truly a great experience for me. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really think I’d be able to keep it rolling five days a week.

It’s sort of sad to just quit this just because I switch jobs, and because there were some nice comments every now and then (are you there??), I hope to continue throwing in some entries say, at least once a month.

Starting tomorrow, I will be in my dream world, the Japanese filming industry. I know it’s going to be exciting as well as a lot of learning. I will report new stuff as soon as I get to know any!

Last but not least, thanks again for reading this blog and please do check back once in a while :-)

29 November, 2006

Surprise News

I know it’s kind of a super-short notice, but this blog will end tommorow.... or at least stop being updated for a little while. I’m changing my job. I hope to write about the details tomorrow, but anyway, thanks for reading this half-serious half-boring blog.

I don’t want to completely quit this, so if I have the time and energy to keep it up I promise I will. It’s just that I won’t be doing this as part of my job anymore. After I get used to my new job, I’ll try to keep you guys updates with my insightful new life.

Is it just me who feels like what I’m writing is sometimes really ambiguous...? Tells how “Japanese” I am, lol. Anyway, I will be here tomorrow so do check out my last entry!

28 November, 2006

Japanese Economy and Women: Conclusion

I tried to tell the complicated characters and situations of women in the 21st centuries, but I couldn’t quite reach a conclusion even within myself so I’d like to wrap up with that.

One of the newest lifestyle fads is “petit-luxury”. An easy example of this can be a person who usually has a 500-yen-lunch for 6-days a week treating herself with a 2,000-yen-lunch for just once a week. Well, true, not many would have thought of spending 2,000 yen on mere lunch during the economic recession.

Like this example, the celeb-wannabe women whom I wrote about yesterday aren’t always rich and celeb but are in fact cutting expenses on some other parts of their lives. Their biggest dream of dream, though, is of course to become extremely rich so that they can have all the luxury without having to have to save money somewhere else. They want to become real rich celebrities.

That means that they demand high income in their future hubbies and this leads to their obsession with appearance from fashion, hair style, make-up and behaviors that men like – their short-term goal is to become attractive to men. Even though it probably requires a lot of effort I suppose that process is part of the fun for women anyways... but anyway, firstly they need to become able to expand their choices of men and then select the one that can provide their ideal lives.

I won’t say that this is the case for all Japanese women, of course not, but it is the reality and perhaps one of the conclusions the women who survived the Lost Decade reached.
Is it just me who feel like those gals have grown up a bit?

Oh, speaking of women, there’s a new female blogger on Japan Mode. She says she plans to write about things like Japanese stuff abroad and foreign-originated trends in Japan from a female point of view. It just started a day ago, but you’d better check that out too!!


27 November, 2006

Japanese Women and Economy

Let us start concluding the topic on Japanese women and recession. Today (and finally) we’ll get to 21st century. (Just a quick note: today’s entry may sound more or less biased, but I mean absolutely no offense to anyone)

Women in the past few years have clearly change quite dramatically as compared to the women before. If I describe it really short and simple, the high school gals who enjoyed their power and energy grew up without losing them. So um... you’ll see.

According to the Japanese government the country is slowly recovering from the economic slump she was stuck in for a decade. Indeed, employment rates are so much higher than the ice age in the latter half of 1990s, and numbers like several hundred millions and billions are heard more often.

So have our daily lives of common people changed? Not really. Like I wrote some days ago, the disparity is widening here and there. The reality of economic recovery isn’t so much about economy as a whole lifting up but only about portions of the population becoming extraordinarily rich. This is Japan today.

And the women... more and more women are attracted to the luxury that has become more reachable than even during the bubble economy, and they eventually start to behave like celebrities (well, some really are). The fashion trend, the food trend, cars, pets, etc.... women try to imitate so-called celebs and feel like they’re one of them.

The difference from strong women during the bubble economy, is that even though they’re still very self-assertive they aren’t as aggressive but are more “feminine”. I don’t know if it’s because they’ve been shown too much of the luxurious gorgeous glittering and dazzling houses and dresses and lifestyles of the rich on TV and mags, but anyway I get the impression that women nowadays want attention from men and want to be looked up from the “normal” people. So the styles in trend are “girlish” “feminine” “graceful” rather than the sexy-hot kind of fashion that dominated the market until some years ago.

Sounds like all they have in their minds are attention from people (especially men) and luxury, but like any other case this isn’t true for every women and even for those who are really into celebrity-ism they say they have their own beliefs and borderlines they wouldn’t cross.

I think I need another day for this.. continues tomorrow.

24 November, 2006

Recession and High School Gals

In the entry on Nov 21 I wrote about how the Japanese women were until the bubble economy in the early 90s, but hadn’t gone further yet. Sorry for the delay. I’m continuing with the topic today.

After the bubble burst, the tide of huge economic recession hit the entire country, which is also known as The Lost Decade. The number of suicides increased remarkably never dropping down, and no one was assured of his or her job the next day. University graduates – whom until then, didn’t even have to hunt for jobs – were left jobless and the entire country was just feeling miserable. According to our theory here, women should have lost their energy and social status, and should have chosen to depend on men rather than becoming active themselves –- supposedly.

But the people who were strong during this decade were not men. And they weren’t exactly women, too.

The rulers of The Lost Decade were high school gals.

Certainly, they are women but that is only to say gender-wise, but they were many times viewed as a completely different species when they were most active. That’s how... “interesting” they were.

The teenage years for girls especially, is said to be the phase of life when they become the most sensitive about everything about and around them, so in general high school gals are quite sensitive and self-assertive regardless the social background.
So then, why did these girls during the 90s so powerful as compared to the other generations?
This is only my observation, but I believe that the rapid development in communication means play a huge role in the rise of “joshikosei”.

Experiencing its social debut and fast spread in mid-1990s were the pagers which in Japanese is called pocket bells. It was a HUGE fad among the high school gals since the keenest and assertive beings on earth could communicate with someone some distance away without having their conversations overheard by their family members.

The pager fad played a huge role in spreading information extremely fast. Even without pagers, the speed of information spread among teenage girls is extraordinarily fast in almost any culture. The system of teenage word of mouth information transmission was thus quickly established. This was the beginning of the age where what went big among the teenage girls went big in the society.

With overwhelming energy only the teenage girls could have, the gal generation quickly out-powered the elder females and dominated the Japanese recession as if there was nothing for them to worry about. Of course, many things have gone wrong and there were many negative impact these new social rulers brought to the society, and these points become conspicuous as the cell phones develop and spread even more than the pagers. I also think that the weakened power of grown-ups had to do with the positive and negative sides of this phenomenon.

So this was until about 2002. From then, the economy starts to pick up power again and the mirage-like economy boost comes again, but I will stop here for today.

22 November, 2006

Olympics in Tokyo?

I was going to continue with the economy and women thing from yesterday, but again it started to become a bit complicated in my mind so I think I’ll let my mind rest for a little bit (yay, tomorrow’s a holiday!).

Anyway, so I was looking for some lighter news to write about today and was asking around my colleagues, and one of them told me that a bid committee for 2016 Olympics has been established in Japan to bid the Games to Tokyo. Come to think of it, the governor of Tokyo was talking about it for a long time. I’m not so interested in how much economic impact it brings to the city but am secretly anticipating more access to my website LOL cuz I remember a lot of travelers coming over to Japan when the 2002 FIFA World Cup had been held in Japan.

Putting my secret hopes aside, how high is the possibility of succeeding in bidding it? There may be a lot of venues and transportation means, but perhaps not enough accommodation. Besides, the 2008 Olympics are going to be held in Beijing so I doubt that the 2016 Games would come to a city so close in only 8 years.

Well, I’ve got a Labor Day holiday tomorrow!!
I’ll stop here for today and continue (and hopefully finish up) the topic I started yesterday.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it :-)

21 November, 2006

Japanese Women and Social Economy

Here I would like to write about things that I intentionally (for good reasons) didn’t write in the article on J-POP for Japan Mode.

What it is about: it is about the relationship between Japanese economy and the performances of Japanese women. I have touched upon it a little bit in the article, but here I would like to go into the actual mechanism.

But first, let me get started with my personal experience from my earlier days.
When I was small, cute and charming yet somewhat independent and intelligent girl(s) called “The Madonna of the class (year)” were popular among the boys. As the economy started to become better (getting closer to bubble economy which is late 80s to early 90s) strong independent women were starred even in TV programs for kids and people admired women with strong character.

The peak of strong and active women came during the bubble economy, when ladies in short tight skirts stood on the stages of discos and danced as they swung their feathery fans. Men they desired to marry had to fulfill the three “high” conditions, 1) height (tall), 2) education (elite) and 3) income (elite) and there was clearly a structure established in which strong women could choose men who could make their lives even richer. Another aspect of strong women during this time period is represented in the increase in working women, and this is also the time when single mothers and unmarried women increased.

Ok, let me make my point very briefly. During times when the domestic economy is suffering, it is hard for women to keep their jobs even though their equal working status and opportunities are supposed to be protected legally, and instead more women choose to find a husband who can support their lives instead. Staying home were their means for survival.

But as the economy turns better, it becomes easier for women to earn their own livings in the society. In such social circumstance, their urge to find a man to marry fades and as a result more and more independent women who do not try to fawn upon men increases.

This is about up till the bubble economy. I’ll continue with how the situations shifted in the late 90s up until now.