Sannenzaka Correspondence

Editors’ Diary 08/09/2023

During my undergraduate years, I had the opportunity to work at the Musashino City Hall, which often surprises people when I mention it. When I studied in Germany, sharing this experience with political science students made me quite popular. Un-like Japan, Hamburg is a city-state with significant authority, almost like its own nation, which leads to such reactions. By the way, people working at the port authority also tend to be popular, but that’s just a joke.

During my student days, locals from Koganei City and Kokubunji City encouraged me to work at the city hall and even introduced me to staff members. They treated me very well, but I ultimately joined a newspaper company in the press club media as a full-time employee. I have consistently worked as a full-time employee ever since.

Later on, I became involved with central ministries like the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry at the nation-wide level, with only occasional interactions with local governments like Tokyo, Yokohama, and Yokosuka. Even those engagements usually revolved around national-level topics, and my work with Yokohama City was largely through collaborations with the University of Tokyo’s engineering department. Regardless, I’ve walked the streets of Tokyo and Yokohama extensively, simultaneously addressing national and global issues. I’m aware of the rarity of this both-combination.

In addition to my absolute priority, art history, I also participated in a well-tempered seminar on urban sociology as a minor, where I gained practical insights into inner-city issues and the theories of the Chicago School. Paradoxically, during job hunting, I had many opportunities to meet with urban development companies and analyze the political factors hindering regional economic growth. While Japan has multiple political forces ostensibly advocating for leveraging surplus urban labor, in reality, they are aging and their rejuvenation campaigns have been far from successful.

I distinguish global challenges like sustainability from the Galápagos context, especially easy problematics in regional areas. Although my brother is a mathematician at a large national university and I have been excessively heavily involved in academia as a news reporter, therfore now I have limited my contact with universities in Japan, partly due to these circumstances.

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