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Answerman - Why Do All The Kids Want To Move To Tokyo?


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eely225



Joined: 23 May 2006
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Location: West Lafayette, IN
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 12:27 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
If you want to go to the best college (and getting into a good school is basically Japan's national past time)


"past time" and "pastime" are not the same word, fwiw

Snark aside, this was a great article. The London comparison makes a lot of sense. With a city like Tokyo, it's really hard to get a sense of its scale. I wonder whether the relationship between Mexico City and the rest of the country is similar.
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mangamuscle



Joined: 23 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 12:33 pm Reply with quote
eely225 wrote:
I wonder whether the relationship between Mexico City and the rest of the country is similar.


Yep, Monterrey would be Nagoya and Guadalajara would be Oosaka

Quote:
But if you're young, you have big dreams, and you want to give it your best and Aim for the Top, there's only one place to go.


Suddenly I had a Kumamiko flashback Anime hyper


Last edited by mangamuscle on Wed May 10, 2017 12:41 pm; edited 2 times in total
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DRosencraft



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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 12:35 pm Reply with quote
I think Justin sums up what my assumption was from the start - if you're content with whatever more rural, country lifestyle, you already have, then it's not an issue. If you want something bigger, then you're aiming for the big city. I don't really liken it to the modern rust belt in America, but more like New York and Hollywood back in the Roaring 20s, or New York for most of its history. Nowadays, in the US at least, there is a greater dispersal of the things that make a city appealing, and there are a lot more "big cities".

Cities tend to be a melting pot of culture, a hotbed of activity, and a takeoff point for new things. More importantly, there are historically better opportunities for work in cities, which helps facilitate all the other parts.

Of course there are the bad things that come along with life in the big city, but those things go on in the small towns too - you just don't hear about it as much.
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mgosdin



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 1173
Location: Kissimmee, Florida, USA
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 12:44 pm Reply with quote
DRosencraft wrote:
Of course there are the bad things that come along with life in the big city, but those things go on in the small towns too - you just don't hear about it as much.


Quote:
Somewhere out there on that horizon
Out beyond the neon lights
I know there must be somethin' better
But there's nowhere else in sight
It's survival in the city
When you live from day to day
City streets don't have much pity
When you're down, that's where you'll stay
The Eagles, In The City


The dream of the big city often isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

Mark Gosdin
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DerekL1963
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 14 Jan 2015
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Location: Puget Sound
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:20 pm Reply with quote
eely225 wrote:
Snark aside, this was a great article. The London comparison makes a lot of sense. With a city like Tokyo, it's really hard to get a sense of its scale.


This is something I've often noticed among Americans (disclaimer, I'm American) - they have a hard time grasping how many other countries 'work' because unlike many of them them we don't have One Big City that towers over the nation. (Not just Tokyo and London, but Paris and others scattered across the globe.) A city that's the center of government, media, and culture, and that's also almost always the national seat of industry, finance, and commerce as well.

In those countries, and unlike America - all roads 'lead to Rome'.
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Pidgeot18



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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:28 pm Reply with quote
London has about 20% of the UK's population and around half of its GDP, according to Wikipedia. Paris has about 20% of France's population and 30% of GDP. Tokyo has about 25% of Japan's population and 20-25% of the GDP. Meanwhile, New York City has about 7% of the US population and 8% of GDP.

Looking at many countries in the world, the largest city tends to account for around 20% of the population (when considering the whole metro area rather than just the urban core itself), and a roughly commensurate portion of the economy (London's relationship with the UK is very much an outlier here). The US is a major exception to this rule, as it has several massive cities, so none of them provide quite the dominating factor. If you saw the entire Northeast Corridor as a single megacity, then you start getting roughly comparable numbers, although even then they're on the low side (~17% population, ~20% GDP).
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Zin5ki
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:30 pm Reply with quote
eely225 wrote:
The London comparison makes a lot of sense.

It certainly does. Though the scale is different, the socioeconomic matters discussed in today's article all sound eerily familiar.
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Ushio



Joined: 31 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:36 pm Reply with quote
This article seems to be mixing metropolitan area's and cities together.

Japanese cities
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_in_Japan

Top 5 by population
Tokyo - 8,637,098
Yokohama - 3,697,894
Osaka - 2,668,586
Nagoya - 2,283,289
Sapporo - 1,918,096


USA cities
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population

Top 5 by population
New York - 8,550,405
Los Angeles - 3,971,883
Chicago - 2,720,546
Houston - 2,296,224
Philadelphia - 1,567,442
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Pidgeot18



Joined: 19 Jul 2015
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:49 pm Reply with quote
DerekL1963 wrote:
This is something I've often noticed among Americans (disclaimer, I'm American) - they have a hard time grasping how many other countries 'work' because unlike many of them them we don't have One Big City that towers over the nation. (Not just Tokyo and London, but Paris and others scattered across the globe.) A city that's the center of government, media, and culture, and that's also almost always the national seat of industry, finance, and commerce as well.


The sheer distance of scale is also easy to miss. The distance between Chicago and New York is only about 700 miles. That's roughly the distance between... Moscow and Warsaw, or Milan and Palermo, or Zurich and Copenhagen, or Sapporo to Osaka. What for us is only a third of the way or so through the country is, for most of the world, longer than their country's largest axis.

Ushio wrote:
This article seems to be mixing metropolitan area's and cities together.


Metropolitan areas is usually a better metric for comparing cities than actual city size. Although comparing city propers for "places over 1 million people" is a tad dishonest.

I will also point out that the US has roughly 2-3× the population of Japan, so the city comparisons really mean that the largest cities in the US are a third of the size you would usually expect.
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Heishi



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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:49 pm Reply with quote
Lol, cause its awesome! Laughing
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Tenchi



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Location: Ottawa... now I'm an ex-Anglo Montrealer.
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:51 pm Reply with quote
mangamuscle wrote:

Quote:
But if you're young, you have big dreams, and you want to give it your best and Aim for the Top, there's only one place to go.


Suddenly I had a Kumamiko flashback >_<


In Kumamiko, though, the big city was Sendai, which itself was too overwhelming for Machi so I can't imagine how much more frightening she'd find Tokyo spoiler[(unless you subscribe to the theory that it's the mountain gods, who appear to be quite malicious and possessive of Machi, messing with Machi's perceptions to keep her from straying too far from Kumade village and, perhaps, getting farther away from them by going to Tokyo would actually help her sanity)].

DerekL1963 wrote:

This is something I've often noticed among Americans (disclaimer, I'm American) - they have a hard time grasping how many other countries 'work' because unlike many of them them we don't have One Big City that towers over the nation. (Not just Tokyo and London, but Paris and others scattered across the globe.) A city that's the center of government, media, and culture, and that's also almost always the national seat of industry, finance, and commerce as well.


In Canada, Toronto, which many Canadians outside of the GTA mockingly refer to as "the centre of the universe", almost fits that criteria except for the "center of government" part, which is, of course, here in Ottawa although Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario. It's a city that I like to visit every once in a while but I could never live there as it's just too "big" for me (also housing is really expensive there) even compared to Montreal, where I grew up (and which up to about half a century ago was Canada's premiere city although it's still number one in my heart).

I feel the same way about England, actually. I really like visiting London but it's very overwhelming and if I ever moved to the United Kingdom, I'd only be comfortable living around a much smaller city like Exeter.
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HeeroTX



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
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Location: Austin, TX
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 2:41 pm Reply with quote
I think the London/UK analogy is perfect. Along with everything else, I don't think you'd get a good "USA" analogy because of sheer landmass. As others have noted, America as a country is so, SO much larger than nations like UK, France & Japan. Those individual nations are more like a small cluster of states in the US, or even just California alone. I don't know how it would go, but it'd be interesting to compare the US to China, which has both population AND landmass.

I'm somewhat surprised that various governments and such aren't putting more effort to use resources like the internet to distribute people in their 30s-40s to "outside" of the city. (encourage telecommuting, etc.) Considering that it is becoming an acknowledged issue that people are fleeing the non-urban areas, it seems like effort should/could be made to do something about that. I understand that 20-somethings fresh out of college have big dreams, but shouldn't really be targeting MOST of what the more urban areas provide aside from: jobs (which, like I said, white collar professional jobs could EASILY be moved) and schools (which... I would think are usually a "suburban" target and thus could also be dealt with, especially since education is USUALLY publicly funded).
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 3:21 pm Reply with quote
mgosdin wrote:
The dream of the big city often isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

Mark Gosdin


That this question was asked made me think of that sentiment--I figured it must be popular for the youth in Japan to go to Tokyo, and that must be a strange thought for someone in the United States (or, to a lesser extent, Canada and Australia) who wants to do the opposite: Moving from a big city into the countryside. Country life is pretty romanticized in the United States (probably because of our frontier history and our vast expanses of open land, which I suspect is why I hear similar mindsets from Canadians and Australians) as being quiet, idyllic, relaxed, independent, and surrounded by friendly warm people. Well, there's also the more extreme variant where people move into the wilderness because they dream of either total self-sufficiency or they enjoy the rugged survival life, but I think that's a different matter entirely.

It does provide a follow-up question from me though: Are there many people in Japan who live in Tokyo and desire to move into rural areas?

Pidgeot18 wrote:
London has about 20% of the UK's population and around half of its GDP, according to Wikipedia. Paris has about 20% of France's population and 30% of GDP. Tokyo has about 25% of Japan's population and 20-25% of the GDP. Meanwhile, New York City has about 7% of the US population and 8% of GDP.

Looking at many countries in the world, the largest city tends to account for around 20% of the population (when considering the whole metro area rather than just the urban core itself), and a roughly commensurate portion of the economy (London's relationship with the UK is very much an outlier here). The US is a major exception to this rule, as it has several massive cities, so none of them provide quite the dominating factor. If you saw the entire Northeast Corridor as a single megacity, then you start getting roughly comparable numbers, although even then they're on the low side (~17% population, ~20% GDP).


That's a very good point, and one I didn't think of going into this article, that the United States is actually an exception where certain industries and trends are stronger in some parts of the country than others, so you have people moving in every direction all over the country, and, as I mentioned right above, some people decide they had enough of the city life and move to the countryside.

On the other hand, that produces some selfish entitled people (mostly retirees--I don't mean all retirees are like that, or even most of them, but the other way around, that those people tend to mostly be old and retired) who want to force the country life into the city somehow. I live next to a suburban district of a major US city run by someone who's a big, big fan of agrarian and equestrian life, for instance, and she has blocked nearly all commerce and infrastructure in the district (with one major road and a highway running down the southern border of the district being the only ones, besides the essentials like running water and electricity and such), and nearly took down its church. She lives a secluded, simple life in her ranch and seems to be angry at anyone who doesn't live the way she does.

HeeroTX wrote:
I think the London/UK analogy is perfect. Along with everything else, I don't think you'd get a good "USA" analogy because of sheer landmass. As others have noted, America as a country is so, SO much larger than nations like UK, France & Japan. Those individual nations are more like a small cluster of states in the US, or even just California alone. I don't know how it would go, but it'd be interesting to compare the US to China, which has both population AND landmass.


Even then, California alone has multiple hubs of culture, industry, finance, and population. Los Angeles and San Francisco are the big ones, but you also have other places people desire to live in like San Diego, Oakland (maybe not so much now that the Raiders are gone), San Jose/Silicon Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Fresno, Sacramento, Napa, and Lake Tahoe. Looks like you live in Texas, and I can say your state is like that too. My father, when he was young, moved to Fort Worth and joined the construction business, and I had an uncle who moved to Lubbock for a while (for reasons I'm not sure about, but he's kind of reckless). I don't know as much about which cities in Texas are hubs too, but I definitely know I hear a lot about things and people in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi.

HeeroTX wrote:
I'm somewhat surprised that various governments and such aren't putting more effort to use resources like the internet to distribute people in their 30s-40s to "outside" of the city. (encourage telecommuting, etc.) Considering that it is becoming an acknowledged issue that people are fleeing the non-urban areas, it seems like effort should/could be made to do something about that. I understand that 20-somethings fresh out of college have big dreams, but shouldn't really be targeting MOST of what the more urban areas provide aside from: jobs (which, like I said, white collar professional jobs could EASILY be moved) and schools (which... I would think are usually a "suburban" target and thus could also be dealt with, especially since education is USUALLY publicly funded).


My impression reading all the stuff on this site concerning rural towns in Japan is that they by and large do not get modern technology or modern culture. This means they want to keep people in their communities but they don't seem to know how to do it, or they're willing to do it only using traditional techniques.
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EricJ2



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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 3:23 pm Reply with quote
eely225 wrote:
The London comparison makes a lot of sense. With a city like Tokyo, it's really hard to get a sense of its scale. I wonder whether the relationship between Mexico City and the rest of the country is similar.


Also, that there's culturally considered "not much" of England OUTSIDE of London--
Graduating a Manchester or Birmingham school doesn't have the same ring as graduating a London school.

England is mostly agricultural and industry territory outside of their big iconic world hub-city, and so is Japan outside of theirs--
The next biggest Japanese city to flock to would be Osaka, and that's already culturally considered "in the sticks".
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DerekL1963
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 3:33 pm Reply with quote
Some white collar jobs can easily be moved... many others cannot be however. The big reason cities persist is that telecommuting doesn't work as well in real life as it's assumed to, and direct physical access makes so many things so much easier.

And even if the jobs can be moved, people move to the cities for the amenities and services as much if not more than the jobs. And many of those amenities and services are only practical and economical because being located in a city they have access to orders of magnitude more potential customers/users than they would even being located on the borders of the metro area. (Let alone in a smaller city or a small town out in the sticks.) This results in a chicken-and-egg scenario, the amenities and services won't (and often can't) relocate where there is insufficient population... and the population won't move to where the amenities and services aren't.

Small town living simply isn't attractive to very many people. And this isn't a new thing, in America post-WWI there was a saying "how are you going to keep them on the farm once they've seen Paree (Paris)?" And while the situation isn't generally quite as desperate as it is in Japan, the US and pretty much the rest of the First World are already on the same slope.

The various levels of government are very aware of the problem, and are trying to find a solution... But they aren't having much luck because there isn't any pat answer.
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