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A desire not to become one of those poor, generally miserable people is why I'm thinking of leaving.  
by Zwackus on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 02:10:17 AM EST
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actually, the ones I know there are generally quite content -- and often have a bunch of half-breed tikes running around the house, too.  ;-)

La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
by marco on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 03:14:01 AM EST
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Well, I suppose part of that is due to a co-worker of mine who often, and loudly, grips about how moving here was the worst decision of his life, etc. etc. etc.

That's not really the thing, I'm just feeling now that I'm kind of tired with living here for the moment, though prospects elsewhere don't look very good.  My desire to leave Japan is more emotional than rational.

But I suppose that was one of the spurs to writing this diary.  I am at a job that may well be my lifetime earnings peak, and I don't hate it.  I don't like it very much either, though, and it's never going to get any better nor will the pay ever rise.  It may also collapse on its own in the next year or two.  But, should I return to the US, I may well enjoy a year or two of unemployment/marginal employment before I get a job half as livable as this.  That is a path with risks and rewards all its own, and my employment situation may not be nearly as dire as I fear.  However, there is a strong chance that moving back like that would put me in the situation of reaching 40 without a dime in the bank.

So, I get to thinking about it, and really can't make up my mind about how much that really matters.  Obviously my decision about staying or going depends on many things much more personal and better known that the fate of the global capitalist system.  However, those are things I need to figure out on my own.  ET is a wonderful place for talking about doom and all, and so I posted the diary with that as the main angle.

And given the discussion provoked, and the many comments on the diary, it seems to have been a good choice.  Thanks all for contributing, and for giving me an idea for a diary on a related topic, regarding the intersection of the personal and the political in terms of the larger macro-economic forces at work in the world today.

by Zwackus on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:36:23 AM EST
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Collapse or no collapse, it does seem likely that our generation will be the first one in a long time to have a generally lower standard of living than our parents'. [This is in the overdeveloped world, leaving aside debates about Hans Rosling's presentations]

The 5-year rolling window of preparedness also seems to be part of this here consensus. But the conventional wisdom still operates on much longer time frames - the 40-year mortgage, the single lifetime career (and its associated scourge, ageism)... The only thing that isn't cultural and which doesn't fit in the 5-year frame is the 20 years it takes for one's children to reach adulthood.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:52:57 AM EST
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Yep.  Sobering thoughts.
by Zwackus on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 07:38:53 AM EST
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So, under business as usual you think if you don't want to be poor, generally miserable in the long term you need to leave Japan.

But long-term business as usual contradicts the premise of your diary...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:20:18 AM EST
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My answer to you is largely in the above answer to Marco's comment.  But yeah, it's complicated - but a doom-focused approach to the situation seemed a better fit to ET than a personal psychology one.  And I'm much clearer about my doom anxieties than I am about my other psychology problems. :-)
by Zwackus on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:38:20 AM EST
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Oh, and another angle on that comment.  Should global civilization collapse, Japan seems like it would be in a bit of a quandary.  On the one hand, its present population is simply not sustainable from local production, especially given the global collapse of world fisheries underway.  On the other hand, the Japanese government has been FAR more forward looking, and willing to adapt to obvious problems facing it on the level of macro-economic structure, than has that of the USA.  So, it has its strengths and weaknesses a collapse scenario.

However, as much as they like foreigners now, I wonder how that would change, or not, should things turn ugly.  I also wonder what the heck I'd end up doing, once teaching English/teaching in English is no longer a viable option.

So yeah, I guess doom anxieties play a bit of role in this decision as well, though as with savings, I can't really make up my mind.

by Zwackus on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:42:17 AM EST
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