This is my essay.

I found an interesting song whose title was "Do you know the way to San Jose?", when I was reading the English textbook of NHK radio program for senior people in May 2005. Please read and listen the following songs at first.

Do you know the way to San Jose?
I've been away so long
I may go wrong and lose my way
Do you know the way to San Jose?
I'm going back to find
Some peace of mind in San Jose
L.A. is a great big freeway
Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two, they'll make you a star
Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parkin' cars and pumpkin' gas
You can really breathe in San Jose
They've got a lot of space
They'll be a place where I can stay
I was born and raised in San Jose
Some peace of mind in San Jose
Fame and fortune is a magnet
It can pull you far away from home
With dream in your heart
You're never alone
Dreams turn into dust and blow away
And there you are without a friend
You pack your car and ride away
I've got lots of friends in San Jose
Do you know the way to San Jose?
Can't wait to get back to San Jose
Words by Hal David
@@@@ Music by Bacharah
Singer Dionne Warwick

I heard that San Jose was the oldest city of San Francisco State. From there many people have moved to Los Angeles for getting livelihood. They have worked hard for realizing the American dream. However in the end they couldn't realize their dreams and had gone back to their hometown, San Jose. This song expressed the minds of such people. It is true that only a few people would be successful of getting rich and most of them will remain to be poor. For such defeated people, after the hard works in Los Angeles for 30 years, there is no other choice for them to go back to their hometown.

When we think of the U.S.A., we often have such a good image of the country, full of dreams or success stories. However the successful people are very limited. Most of the people are busy for getting daily livelihood. Both phenomena are true. For the people, who still remain to be poor, lives should be hard. When the economy would be in recession, some of them would fall to be homeless. I had been thinking that Americans loved successful stories and neglect defeated dogs. However I realized that it was wrong. This song states such people who lost their dreams.

To make all nations affluent is the ideal of modern countries. However when I was staying in the Southeast Asia, I thought this ideal would be unable to be realized. Paradoxically speaking, it might be impossible for everyone to be rich together. To the contrary, because most of the nations are poor, other nations would feel that they are rich. When I observed the local families, some very limited people were rich and enjoyed in playing golf, attending parties and so on. They just depended upon house keepers, working hard for getting small salaries. Most of families were hard to keep their lives and busy in working together. I thought the slavery system of ancient Rome would be the same as this structure. Of course the old Roman slaves were not free, but at least they had contributed to make the limited Roman citizens rich. Even in the resent Chine, the Shanghais people could enjoy boosted economy by making use of the local people by giving small amount of salaries.

In Japan only 80 years ago, the salaries of the presidents of big business companies were 200 times of these of the freshmen. However at present the difference would be from 10 to 15 times. Considering the tax, it would be 5 times or so. This shows how the present Japan is an equal society. This was because of the social revolution just after the World War II. The nobles and landowners had forced to decline. People were forced to work together equally. To the contrary, in the U.S.A. there was no such revolution. The social difference has been kept until now. As the result, the difference of the salaries of the presidents of big business companies was more than 1000 times of these of the freshmen.

However in recent years, Japan has been suffering from the recession after the bubble economy of 1990s. People's income has been declining. But some billionaires of Information Technology have been appearing. So the Gini Coefficient has been increasing. It shows how the recent Japanese society has become unequally. On the other hand, some people would say that this only indicates that the portion of aged people has been increasing, because they are comparatively rich in nature. For your reference, the Gini Coefficient of the U.S.A. is 0.372 in 1997.

The Gini Coefficient of Japan

Year 1984 1989 1994 1999
Gini 0.252 0.260 0.265 0.273

In addition to this inequality of Japan, there are many problems in Japan. I am worried about the aging society, increase of crimes, declining of the international competitive powers, big national debts and so on. We should be revitalized again.

(July 2, 2005)


Essay of My Wonderful Life

(c) Yama san 2005, All rights reserved