Sheridan PRASSO “Escape From Japan” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/fashion/15miho.html?_r=1&oref=login&ref=style&pagewanted=allから；
In the East Village on any given weekend night, throngs of such Japanese crowd the restaurants known as izakaya that have sprung up on and around St. Marks Place, in an enclave sometimes called Little Tokyo. With red paper lanterns and cacophonous dins, the restaurants serve delectables like raw liver sashimi and grilled rice balls, to tables of expatriates known in Japan as “freeters” (a combination of free and the German word for worker, arbeiter), or “NEETs” (Not in Education, Employment or Training).
As a Japanese version of slackers, such young people are often derided at home as selfish for drifting through part-time jobs or trying to develop talents in the arts — photography, music, painting, dance — rather than contributing to society by joining a corporation or marrying and having babies. The pressure can be intense.
Many escape to New York, staying from three months to three years. “In New York they feel they don’t get any pressure, that New York gives them freedom,” said the Japanese-born owner of the Sunrise Mart, a Japanese market in Little Tokyo.
The influx is at least a decade old, but unlike in the mid-1990’s when men and women freeters came in equal numbers, now it is largely a female wave — a result of the recovering economy in Japan that has made it slightly easier for young men to find corporate jobs upon graduation.
Some of the youths are financed by their parents. Others say they wait tables, even when lacking work permits, in Japanese restaurants in New York where little English is required, or take cash jobs like posing nude for drawing classes in Chelsea art studios.
“Three months ago, I asked my parents to send me money, and they said, ‘This is the last money!’ ” said Misaki Ishihara, 23, an aspiring makeup artist from central Japan, near Kobe, who has been in New York for two years. “My parents are so conservative, they can’t believe I’m here alone. They want me to be married to a Japanese man, an established man, make some kids and live in the same house with them. I can’t even believe I am from that family. I am so different!”
In Tokyo bookstores, guides like “Finding Yourself in New York,” and “The ‘I Love New York’ Book of Dreams” fuel the fantasies of those would follow in Kaori’s footsteps. In an indication that a phenomenon has truly taken off, there’s a contrarian title, “Even If You Live in New York, You Won’t Be Happy.”
New York now has the largest number of Japanese living in any city outside Japan: 59,295, according to last year’s Japanese Foreign Ministry data. But the Miho Mimuras don’t register in those statistics. Like the majority of the nearly 475,000 Japanese who landed at Kennedy and Newark airports last year, she was officially a tourist. In her allotted 90 days in the United States, she took more than 850 photos — “my memory souvenir!” — of the Statue of Liberty, of Picassos at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when the guards weren’t looking, and of Harlem, Radio City Music Hall and all the other places on a Japanese girl’s must-see list.