Japanese homeless
8:04 PM | Author: Misty
This story on cnn.com caught my eye because it was about Japan and Japanese.

Basically, the story is about how a lot of younger generation workers in Japan are having problems keeping regular jobs and making enough money to pay rent regularly; apparently there was some sort of deal in Japan in the mid-90s where then-employees were guaranteed a job for life. Now when there are job openings, corporations are snatching up new college graduates, and the in-between workers, called "freeters", are getting passed over.

The really interesting thing is that these freeters have started taking up residence in cyber cafes in Tokyo. Apparently the cyber cafes stay open 24 hours, and a person simply pays for his or her seat and is given free drinks and allowed to read Manga comics for as long as the seat is paid for. And as long as the Yen have been provided, the person can also use the seat to sleep in. These places even provide showers. And they are cheaper than hotels.

Living in a cyber cafe has become an exceptionally popular thing to do, and besides the freeters, there are even more homeless Japanese who live solely on the streets because they can't keep a regular enough job to afford living in the cyber cafe. According to the article, the government has not performed too much research into the phenomenon as of now.

This gives an interesting view into the younger generation and Japan's culture, I think. It seems so against the grain for these Japanese in the younger generation to be relegated to live in an Internet cafe when the culture heavily pushes maintaining polite and proper appearances and also demands that the young take care of the old. At the same time, it makes sense that this culture has caused these younger people to feel a sense of shame and reluctance to return to their families to ask for help, because they are not doing what is expected of them.

It's sort of a catch-22.

I'm not sure how Japan will handle this problem. I'm afraid that the answer may be one that I don't like.
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