Right around the time I finished university in Japan, I was in a bind. I had no money and limited prospects finding a job I wanted to do – I wanted to try working in a big company for the experience, but didn’t want to follow the normal job hunting procedure. Pretty much all of my classmates were set up with jobs or postgrad studies, which was worrying, but at the time I felt powerless to change the situation. The state of the Japanese economy was in constant decline, and there just were not many jobs around.
On the other hand, I didn’t want to return home to the states not having even tried to make it in Japan, so it was time to figure something out. I had a friend who was working for a fishing newspaper, who floated me the idea of working a maguro gyosen (tuna boat) for a year as a stopgap to finding “real” employment, and of course to save some coin. This is the Japanese equivalent of working on an Alaskan fishing boat, because as it turns out, it’s damn near impossible to find a job on a tuna boat these days. In the end, I didn’t look very hard, because everybody I asked said it was a bad idea.
Right around the time I gave up on the tuna boat idea, a random encounter at the bar I tended led to my first full time job. That, in turn, led to ten years of Salaryman. And into my current incarnation as teacher, as well. What’s next? Since life is cyclical and things tend to end where they began, I sometimes find myself thinking about tuna boats. But maybe not (JP language link).
And maybe not an Alaskan fishing boat, either.