What will life hold for young cellphone addicts?
Kyosen Ohashi, 74, a former TV personality who now leads a leisurely retirement by combining work and overseas living, writes about his diverse interests: "At first, I nibbled at a broad range of hobbies and eventually narrowed them down to a few."
To enjoy the latter half of our lives, we need at least two pastimes--one each that we can enjoy indoors and outdoors, respectively, he writes in "Kyosen, Jinsei no Sentaku" (Kyosen, choice of life) published by Kodansha Ltd.
Young people should dip into many things, he says. As they age, they should choose a couple of "lifelong friends" in consideration of their physical and financial situation.
In Ohashi's case, the choices seem to be jazz and golf. They suit him. What about me? I won't go so far as to say my favorite pastime is work, but as I look around me, I see a mountain of activities that I bit into but never finished.
According to a white paper on leisure published by the Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development, how people spend their free time appears to be changing.
Of 91 kinds of leisure activities cited, including eating out, going for a drive and karaoke, on average, Japanese people aged 15 or older engaged in 14.5 kinds of leisure activities at least once in 2007, down from 17.8 in the survey 10 years previously.
In particular, the decline was notable among teenagers, who are at their most adventuresome age. In 10 years, the average number of activities teens had engaged in dropped about 30 percent, from 21.6 to 15.6.
At the same time, people are tending to stick to specific activities. The survey results indicate that people are devoting time and money to the activities they really enjoy.
With their selective investment in a narrow range of hobbies, however, young people miss out on a world of other pastimes. When people with such narrowed interests reach middle age and older, the future of the leisure market will worsen. The white paper deplores this situation.
Young people these days habitually kill time with their cellphones and game consoles. The time they spend on the Internet is also growing. Thus, they aren't nurturing more rewarding hobbies that could help sustain them in later life.
Many people sit around at home, in front of computers. When they go out, their eyes are glued to their cellphones.
I wonder what the lives of people whose only indoor and outdoor interests are computers and cellphones will be like when they reach their later years.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 21(IHT/Asahi: August 22,2008)