Monday, July 11, 2005

Unazukiya

You ask me, what is Unazukiya? Well, this is what happens when three fourths of your population consists of elderly people over 65 years old. Unazukiya is the newest booming industry in Japan. New, may not accurately pair with the application of the word, which means to "nod." How can nodding be the newest job trend in Japan? Because of the old! And lots of it.

For a country with a rapidly aging process two strange industry booms have occurred. The first being funeral homes. When there are more funeral homes than banks, you know you're country is in trouble. Especially when the marriage rate is nil to none, and only 1.2 children per household are being born a year. "Danger Will Robinson!"

The other industry boom, the Unazukiya, or Nodding job consists of nice young people willing to sit and listen to old people jibber on endlessly about their past. Now, I have had two Grandpas who loved to tell stories, so I know when I say this can be a lucrative business for the lonely and desperate old folks with families too busy to give them the time of day. All old people love to talk to someone, and apparently here in Japan they are offering $50 dollars an hour to any young soul who can sit down with them and stay awake throughout their life's histories. Exploitive? Maybe, but with so many economic hardships the youth of the future face here in Japan; they should be taking every available opportunity to find new outlets and stability. This type of innovative thinking not only supplies the young generation with a much needed job opportunity, but it also serves the elderly in feeling comforted as they continue to go gray in this aging nation.

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