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Ueno Photo Walk

Tue 2008/09/09 14:07 JST

While we take a walk around Ueno station, I thought we'd talk about what sort of occupation you want to be in.


A survey listed at Livedoor shows that Japanese high school students most want to be a "talent" or "actor/actress." The Japanese meaning of "talent" is a person who goes on TV regularly/gets laughed at and appears on quiz shows. The future of Japan looks bright indeed.


So what does the top ten most-want-to-be-in-occupations by the Japanese look like?

1. Talent/Actor/Actress
2. Vocalist
3. Musician
4. System Engineer
5. Artist Manager
6. Sound Engineer
7. Web Engineer
8. DJ/Announcer
9. Event Producer
10. Hair/Makeup artist

Looks like the Japanese want to entertain.


During my years at secondary school, I generally done well in classes until I let my "friends" influence me to muck around instead.
When it was time to go to college, I had absolutely no eye deer of what I wanted to do - what I ended up doing was taking computer science just because some friends decided to take it.

I did have a Commodore 64 at the time but had no interest in taking Computer Science. The lack of passion in the subject was the cause of me failing the course. Retook another year and passed with the lowest possible grades.


I left college with some soft of certificate in Design and a "D" in Computer Science. Had no idea what I wanted to do next.

I ended up helping my dad in his she studios cutting patterns for Lady Diana and other famous folk - until I decided to take a Japanese BA at university.

While in China Town Piccadilly one day, I picked up a Cantonese dubbed copy of the original Macross.
This was anime that looked completely different from Gatchaman (G-Force) that I saw as a wee lad.

The transforming Valkyrie, smooth animation and gorgeous Misa and Minmay captured my heart.

I started to game and my first console was the Sega Megadrive. I wanted to know more about the games being imported so I got myself along to the Japan Center which sold Megadrive mags. Could not read a word of Japanese (never took Chinese classes) and decided that I wanted to be able to read what I paid 6 pounds for instead of just looking at the pics ^^;

It was from then on when I realized how much I liked Japanese culture - the "like" turned to "love" and I decided to follow my passion and made every effort I could to get me to Japan - it was a distant goal.

As I look back, I realize that everything I done was a piece of a jigsaw puzzle - all pieces were needed and everything fell into place. It was a "puzzle" at the time because I didn't know what the pieces were going to form but knew I had to keep collecting them.


I understand that there are many young readers out there who may not exactly know what sort of occupation they want to be in. Being in the same boat at one time, I offer my advice - search for what you are passionate about and do the things that bring out that passion.

So if you like all things Japanese, try to meet and mingle with Japanese folks in your area. Is there a shop/restaurant thats popular with Japanese folks living in your region? Is there a message board where you can stick up notes to meet Japanese folks for language exchange? I met a load of Japanese folk living in London though a "language exchange wanted" note that I put in the Japan Center. This is just one example though ^^

Learning Japanese from text books is important but learning the mannerisms and behavior (which is difficult to pick up from a book and mp3's/CD's) from a native Japanese speaker is crucial in order to speak Japanese fluently.
As mentioned before, speaking Japanese fluently is important for folks who want to do well in Japanese society - status and monetary wise.


I see from some of your comments that there are quite a few who do not know what they are passionate about. For these folks, I suggest to do more exploring in uncharted areas. If your daily routine was the same as last week, same as last month then it could very well be the same next year and when a year passes you will be still in the same position not knowing what you are passionate about.

Make a break in the routine and do something different where you will discover and meet new people.
Taking a trip to another region is also good to help you explore and search for what brings out the passion in you.


After you discover your passion, something inside you ignites and you become unstoppable. It drives you and at the same time gives you the energy to continue. Even with obstacles in the way, passion is a mysterious energy that enables you to solve and overcome those obstacles.


And when you are pursuing your passion, you will eventually find the occupation that you want to be in. For me, the term "occupation" is not necessarily a job - to me it means something that occupies you for a good chunk of your life.


And once you are happy living your life in your new found occupation, you start to seek the other question - "what is the meaning of my life?" - a subject that I will cover in another talk.


So we are back at the station and I need to get back home soon. Before I leave I'd like to ask you whether you already have a clear picture of what occupation you are going to pursue. Are you going into that occupation because you are passionate or for other reasons?

How about folks who are already being occupied? Is the line of work you have chosen enabling you to wake up without an alarm clock? Do you look forward to Monday mornings for a week full of challenges?

If you hate Monday mornings then you already know that you should be seeking something else - but don't wait until your life flashes before you just before you die. Also remember that you don't know when you are going to die which makes the game of life even more interesting.

I also understand that having a secure income is important and the risks involved of pursuing something totally different to ones current occupation. But the question has to be asked - live the rest of ones life being a bread making machine to pay the bills or take the leap that may get you what money can never buy - a life of happiness.

I've always mentioned how money is important is our society. It enables us to buy what we want, go where we want and live where we want. But money cant buy that feeling of accomplishment - accomplishment when one reaches a goal of doing something that one is passionate about.


And finally there are the folks who have pursued their passion are are being occupied by what makes them happy - if you are one of these folks then please share your story of how you got to where you are.

Tokyo · CEO Mirai Inc

Director for Culture Japan. Creator of Mirai Suenaga. Member of the Japanese governments METI CIIC.


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