This is the first part of English version of my book 『自‘遊’への旅』published in September 2020. The original in Japanese was written for Japanese readers, in particular for young generation. Nonetheless the argument is not necessarily about the local isolated subject but covers common subject among other people in the world as well. This is the reason why I decided to publish the English version. I hope that this publication is useful not only for any non-Japanese but also for the particular person who have interest in the view which is rarely discussed on the mentality of Japanese.
Start out now because of the difficult time
(B. Civil Eng., MIR, Phd.)
This is the translated version of my original book (『自’遊’への旅』) written in Japanese for particularly the young people who are forced to be stranded due to the hard situation brought by the corona pandemic.
By this publication of English version, I, as the Japanese author, aim at international co-understanding of those very much local, i.e. in Japan, issues. For I believe that they should not be local issues contrary to the seeming.
I dare to publish with my own translation as it is without English editing by any other in order to pursue the purpose. Thus, I must apologize here that this publication may have a not few clumsy translations.
Therefore, readers might find out some difficult parts to understand. But please consider that they are not derived from only translation but also from meaningful uniqueness of local factors which are the purpose to publish the English version.
Besides, the rapid development of translation apps helps me a lot for this work and which, I think, is creating a new era that a local matter does not mean merely local and isolated one.
In addition, and importantly, the publication of translated version is that as if I began to have my avatar who began to talk with many people of all the world instead me.
Table of Contents
(Underlined titles are linked to published parts.)
The iron law of securing means of survival
The never-ended journey
Take an unexpected chance
Middle age overseas study in Australia
What you can choose and what you can’t choose
Enjoy political benefits
View of after-corona
Relativisation of country as unit
Practical knowledge of Amphibian-ology
“Eye-opening” Quantum Theory
Between “Science” and “Practice”
Not a matter of “youth is ignorance”
“Over-working habit disease”
Maintenance of the body infrastructure
The brain is an infrastructure too
Fake called “private insurance”
Future society built by healthy elderly
Health of the earth
5. Mental and Psychological Growth
Origins of Japaneseness
Japanese without “weaning”
At the bottom of the surviving dilemma
6. Paradigm Change of Thought
Japan as number one in the world
Twilight of the west
The essence of oriental thought
7. Integrated Oneness
Author’s Brief Personal History
Now, I am going to write a book for travel.
This book however is not a so-called guidebook for travel, but something that will lead to a journey differently.
However, the world is in the chaos of the corona pandemic now, there is no sign of subsiding, and it still is in the thick fog which makes the future unforeseeable.
It is unthinkable that the COVID-19 crisis will end in a transient infection phenomenon. Moreover, the actual situation is still uncertain and what kind of “new normal” it brings in the future is unknown.
At such a time, the travel fever like pre-COVID-19 will not come back again in a short or medium-term outlook, except for a specific reopen for specific purpose.
Thousands of aircraft have already been parked on the ground or retired from the service. It would be a very thin hope that the enormous transportation capacity which has disappeared in this way, or the demand for aviation, will come back in a few years.
It is true that when you look at the actual situation of the global travel industry, the corona impact is really devastating, and many businesses are forced to withdraw or change themselves. Of course, for the travelers too, overseas travels are impossible and have no choice other than to postpone or by replacing the destination to a domestic one. Any way it is a reality have to wait until the situation is over.
But there is the point to think about. The current extraordinary period in the history must be a perfect opportunity to re-think about the “travel” and think rather about the “journey”. In the first place, “journey” is not something which disappears just because airplanes do not fly.
I am not going to talk a complicating aspect by using a term, paradox, but purely paradoxically, this is the best opportunity to go back to the true “journey” which would be thought deeply, chosen carefully, and prepared thoroughly by anybody.
In particular, I am thinking now about many young people who were all of sudden ruined their travel plan and have been drawn into a great disappointment due to the pandemic.
But don’t give up. “Journey” is never erased by something like this.
I am already over 70 years old and have been journeying in my own way. However, if I ask myself whether the “journey” was just a fad like the travel fever as before the corona, it is clearly “no”.
And I have not thought yet that my “journey” had completed. As it will be described later, I am also pursuing a further “journey” with a different perspective.
And in the first place, life is an eternal journey.
In the current situation, thanks to the corona epidemic, there is a circumstance that time has revived rather abundantly, and we have not encountered such a kind of problem which is only solved by a haste decision.
The “journey” that I am going to discuss in the book is the “journey” that must be free from any kind of restraints.
Now, let us take a look at the contents of the book.
Just now, I have said that the journey “must be free from any kind of restraints”. But every restraint penetrates into and never disappear from every aspect of our life stubbornly in various scenes as if invisible enemies.
The book discusses about such “restraints” from a number of angles, and to talk about the “journey” with the aim that will release oneself wisely from them.
The first “restraint” the book talks about is the biggest enemy, that is, the one at when you struggle to “survival.” If you look at it as necessity for survival, it will contain almost everything. However, we consider it specially as a “necessity to earn money” in connection with the current economic system.
The second is the political restraint in relation to the economic and financial one mentioned above. Many meanings of the term “freedom” are also used in this connection. However, we should not stand on such an awkward word. Let us calmly go back to ourselves and think about what kind of “freedom” we need and focus on it.
The third is the academic restraint, and the core of modern view of the world is based on this perception. However, when you hear the word of “academic”, it may not be your direct concern in everyday life. Nonetheless, it has a powerful authority in the education system. Furthermore, this is actually rooted deeply in the restraint of our mind because it was poured into us systematically especially through the education.
The fourth restraint is limitations of one’s own body. No one can beat fatigue or illness, and one day we must depart to the other world. That is why health is so hoped, but for us it has become more “close” restraint than anything else. We cannot steer well this upside-down relation which our body should be the “resource” of our life but often treated as “consumable”.
The fifth is the mentally and psychologically restraint which tends to become a source of trouble although which is a resource too. This restraint is also intertwined with the third one, i.e. education, and it is also related to the sixth one.
The sixth restraint is thought or ideological one which should be a map for the “journey” which is talking in the book. In a sense it is also related to religion or faith. Therefore, this constraint is unknowingly related to others and sometimes develop into self-made restraints.
In the seventh, these constraints are combined, and it is summarized from both views as an individual and as a group.
Thus, the book calls the wisdom which overcomes these hardly visible various restraints and their practical processes, “journey”.
In other words, the word “journey” in the book is the life itself.
That is why, even if you are encountering the once-in-a-hundred-year disaster, it should neither be abandoned nor be replaced by anything others.
Rather, it should be coped with substantially and practiced with special actions which are specially suitable for such an extraordinal difficulty.
It can be said that whatever happened the planning of “journey” should never be abandoned because of the corona epidemic.
In this way, despite of the situation of the COVID-19 crisis, when one can convert the negative of restraint into a positive, and one can combine or multiply them, it should become a magnificent “journey” which exactly like “a bird which flies in the sky”.
Therefore, the book invites you to the “Fly High”.
I, in spite of over-70, think of the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity as and have challenged the new “journey” to publish the book.
The publication of the book was a totally individual job which literally did not get anyone’s help, including the design of the cover. I realize that present is a time when such an individual performance is being demanded and realistic.
The iron law of securing means of survival
Now I recall in my early twenties, when I was just starting my own life, the biggest challenge, to put it in somewhat symbolical, was how to survive, and more precisely, “how to overcome the discrepancy between compromise for money and my real intention.”
At that time in the early 1970s, Japan’s economy was doing well, and there were little difficulties in getting a job after education, unless chasing too much preference. Rather, my difficulty began after I quit my first job in only six months.
According to the social common sense at the time of 50 years ago, it was a normal acceptance about job to keep it for lifetime once you got it. Therefore, it was a foolish act to quit or change the job on the way, and it damage the career, and of course, it brought the disadvantage on the income. In other words it was a typical act which should not be done as a member of the society.
However, I quit my job in six months, that is, dropped out of the ordinary road, and began to wander a “backstage road”.
I, thus, did the social self-damaging act of dropping out from the stable track which I once got, and was driven into a quite miserable psychological state. Even if I had my own idea, of course, since it was unescapable to sell my labor for income, I encountered a big wall of dilemma to exist that would be sandwiched between the duality of “the self-mind and the reality”.
Such an action was influenced in some extent by the leftist thought which had caught a lot of young people at that. However, there is no Right or Left in this ” iron rule for survival”.
Consequently, my job which I had to have for survival was a labour-hire work which was illegal at that time. If I reckon it now, it was a job of seemingly the origin of freeter〔a Japanese slang of unstable employee〕even though it was a technical work.
I thus began to experience the subject of restraint in order to secure the means of survival via a heretic way by derailing the ordinal pass by myself. After that, as a matter of course, I took the way going in the “behind-side” of society and could see scenes which could be watched only there probably.
However, even if I were on a regular route without dropping out, there would be no significant difference just I might experience a different type of difficulty of the same society, even though there were the difference of front and back.
Currently, due to the stagnation of Japan’s economy for many years plus the impact of COVID-19 crisis, the degree of dilemma caused by the iron rule is far more severe and it is just like a bottomless swamp.
Thus, the “dilemma for survival” is a fundamental problem regardless the difference of the age, and it is a restraint due to the economic system which is unreachable by the effort of individuals although it is the characteristic reflecting the society.
Therefore, there can be no liberation from it unless a utopia society is realized on the earth.
Nonetheless, it is possible to “move” within such a sandwiched state even though can be a relative effort.
As a result, we can clarify what we work for and devise ways to achieve it effectively and efficiently. This step is significant.
Because, the “movement” is, of course, a limited action within the society, but there are also variety of niches and unexpectedly interesting little-known spots. While establishing a clear purpose, it is possible to find your time every day even a little by little, and to create a place of your own.
During you spend those days, you’ll see another perspective, and you’ll have unexpected luck or encounters.
The important thing is to build up your foothold for your survival, without derailing, and get ready for what you really want to do. Of course, you are not confident, and being exposed to anxiety. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to make you well.
Life is long. There are many happenings. The times change little by little. And the chance surely comes after the pinch.
The never-ended journey
I have been taking these dilemmas as “the doubleness of survival” since my twenties. And this subject is not something that has begun in modern times. Perhaps, since the history of human society began, in some way, it is a subject that everyone may be caught. If you look at some of the most famous ones from books around the world, many of them discuss details related to this.
Anyway, if it is impossible to leave, it is human nature to try to find even a little brightness in the dilemma by changing the criteria to choose from among the various kinds of “Catch-22 problem”.
Then, I came across the work of the labor union by chance at the end of my twenties, and started it as a full-time work which might be a job to be able to achieve both “improvement of economic exploitation” and “money earning”. A few years later, I encountered an incident that a member of the union attempted suicide from overwork. Through trial and error, four years later, we won for him the Japan’s first worker’s compensation for suicide from overwork.
However, even if the compensation was achieved, it was only the so-called “follow-up” for the tragedy which he was already severely disabled. Namely, the acquisition of financial compensation did not mean the return of the previous body and normal life to him. Thinking this as an opportunity, I decided to be a middle-age overseas student because I wished to learn more about labor issues from a broader perspective, especially internationally.
In that way, the place of life has spread outside the country, but even now when decades have passed since then, such a “dual life” in which one part of myself makes money and the other is used for own wishes continues. Further, the system which forces the “dual life” has changed in various ways, and more skillfully has deepened the degree of restraint on people. As a result, sometimes one cannot find even own position in the jungle.
In other words, as far as the conclusion from which I have learned in my life, this restraint will not go away from the world unless you are an employer, as the survival system which you need an employment and wages covers all over the human society. Also, just because you become your employer might not mean that it is your goal. Or you might able to become your master if you are gifted and can show what you want.
That is why there’s a need to be at the top of the world or dream of becoming a celebrity. However I don’t think that such behavior is the solution to the problem of doubleness, but it must be that the majority of ordinary people on the other hand will forced to be associated with the restraint until they die.
Of course, the way we involve to has very variety, and there is also the diversity, subtleties, and depth of our lives among them. And, the subject of the dilemma of doubleness enters the area of the consideration which advanced a little more when the issue comes to this area.
So, the place of the discussion ahead will be carried over to the next chapter, but there are new elements that should be taken into account here.
In other words, just as I decided to study abroad in middle-year, so to speak, it is the way to change the geographical conditions of the setting of the problem.
As the saying said “Do in Rome as the Romans do,” what people were born and raised in a country and experienced there may be problems peculiar to that country. Here comes a new challenge of geographical movement.
In this way, we will enter to the stage of “travel” which is exactly the theme of this book.
Take an unexpected chance
Before moving on to the next chapter, however, there is a point of view that I would like to take up here.
In the last 20 years or so, Japan’s “iron rule of securing means of survival” has become more severe, that is, the standard of living has been declining. Also, there is a reality that even to move is becoming a risk in the area related to “travel”.
For example, a young friend of mine, who went out into society with hope after he finished his studies, was able to get only a career as a so-called “freeter” and finally became disillusioned with Japanese society and came to Australia with dream. As a working holiday taker, he worked hard with every effort possible. However, in his case, it did not his dream realize, and it returned to Japan while knowing what kind of reality was waiting for him.
In other words, Japan, needless to say, even if you went abroad, it is same to that the “iron law of securing the means of survival” is still becoming heavier and stricter.
Because it is such a situation, it is not easy to even save the overseas travel expense while earning money to feed oneself. Not only that, but even if we manage to make ends meet and go abroad, our opportunities overseas are extremely slim too.
In short, it is a situation in recent years that the hurdle is being gradually higher and harder even if you are very keen to want to fly out to a “journey”.
Recently, for example, many Japanese nurses have come to Australia to study at vocational schools or to spend a work-holiday and can find at least a few such people around me. Some of them are aiming for an international qualification for a nurse, or they have found a new workplace to live by joining Australia’s emergency medical team by taking advantage of this corona that they happened to come across. In her case, her part-time work experience at a nursing home in Australia and previous English skills just coincidently match the necessity suddenly happened due to COVID-19 crisis.
The above cases is usually described as “good luck.” However, it is not an enough precisely explanation to receive totally. Because, although it can be possible to accept it as luck, coincidence, or intuition, there is an area called the ability to develop a series of very peculiar chances beyond it.
Such a field which is not able to be explained in general by conventional common sense certainly exists in our life.
In these fields, which are occasionally classified as “New Science,” it is also seen as the ability to catch the contingencies of the world and which is called “serendipity.” Alternatively, it is also called “synchronicity” and is one of the new perceptions that natural phenomena respond to each other.
At any rate, it is a field that we cannot help but be conscious of when we try to deal with things seriously and delicately.
As for this, the mention come to rest here, and it will be restart later again (Chapter 3).
In addition, the world is in great mess by the corona now. As a result, people who had managed to go abroad before the outbreak had been forced to return home, or others become nailed down because they can not move at all. This is a situation which has occurred beyond any forecast. How should we make sense that what is happening on the earth due to COVID-19.
In this way, no matter what you encounter, the possibility of such a dramatic encounter is life and a “journey.”
May be arguable but it is possible to do something to prepare for gripping a clue of the unseen “journey” by activating so-called “intuition” and “clairvoyance” without caught by any conventional framework.
From that point of view, it might be said it is life to prepare a contingency with making a sort of bet. Of course, there is no guarantee there. There is a man to cross a dangerous bridge very carefully or there is a man never cross such a bridge. In any case, your choice is in your hands.
Thus, you can polish up your sensing ability by fully mobilizing yourself internally or externally and then building up your careful preparation step by step without sparing time. Through this way you can grab even “the chance once every hundred years” eventually.
On the other hand, in December of last year (2019), Tetsu Nakamura, a doctor who had been working on humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, was shot and killed. He was only about a month younger than me.
I think that his way of life was the best way of life which embodied the heavy contingent which accepted such a peculiar coincidence as a mission far from being rare. Even if it leads to such a death, it does never mean that the meaning of his way of life has faded in any way.
Life is an “adventurous” attempt that includes such a tragic outcome and ultimately which does not allow to come close even any prediction.
It’s up to you, of course, whether you take it into your life or not.