I did not know the word "Sotokomori" until I read the news magazine "SPA" yesterday. But I do know it is getting to be an issue.
Do you know Hikikomori? Hikikomori people withdraw themselves at home. Soto means "outside" in Japanese, then Sotokomori is 20s-30s people staying a long time in foreign countries where the general prices are much lower than Japan. They do part-time jobs in Japan, then after they make a certain amount of money, go to foreign countries. For what? Maybe to escape from reality.
Usually tourists enjoy the tourist places or communication with the local people. But Sotokomori people just stay at cheap hotels and spend time as they want. Some buy game machines and enjoy playing all day, some play guitar, some draw, some sleep, some hung around with other Japanese, they don’t see around the country to save the cost.
Meccas of Japanese Sotokomori are Bangkok in Thailand and Mumbai in India. Kahosan Traveler’s Lodge in Thailand is a well known place for Sotokomori. A one night stay costs 360-700yen, food is 90- 300yen, big beer is 90yen with edamame. The cost of living is about 30,000yen for a month there. Near the lodge, there is a big manga cafe and the Internet cafe, so nothing is inconvenient for living. If a young man has 300,000yen, he will survive two month in Japan…maybe it will be possible if he will be in survival mode. But in Bangkok, he can live 10 months without any worry, without pressure of family, friend s , job, etc. Here is a live camera of the lodge, you will see some Japanese enjoy beer in the daytime.
Until the 90s, college graduate – white-collar working for a big company was the typical ideal life model for many. (graph : blue is college graduate, dark red is white collar) But after the bubble, many students could not find jobs, and also they saw the destruction of permanent employment. Then they lost their incentive to get a job in a big, good company. In a good way, they got greater choice for the future and type of job. So some made their own company, some choose to becraftsmen. Although in the 80s, these were rare cases, it is not rare anymore and they succeed in their new field, and people think they are cool.
On the other hand, many couldn’t find their way, and there wasn’t a model anymore. Sotokomori might be people who failed to find their way to adjust in society. They had the excuse of a depressed economy, difficulty of finding work before. (Hikikomori includes students, lower age s who can’t go abroad by themselves.) But not anymore. I guess Hikikomori and Sotokomori think they have to to do something, but it is not today for them.