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how do you see your life in the future?


How do you see your life in the future?


When I had lunch with my friend from college the other day, I found out that our mutual friend got married. I haven’t had any married friends, so it made me think, “What is marriage/family?” and “How do I want to live my life?”


When it comes to marriage, (I feel like) it has always been considered as one of our life goals. When I talk about it with my friends, I still often hear some of them saying, “What if I can’t get married?” or they want to get married before turning a certain age. I’ve honestly felt a little sad in those situations, because they usually share the idea that everyone should get married at some point, without thinking about those who don’t want to marry or can’t marry.


What is “marriage” anyways? I’m sure that a lot of people in Japan think of heterosexual couples for that term. “Marriage” can be used in a broader meaning. There are as many other diverse relationships as there are people; couples who chose de facto marriage, couples who chose the partnership system because marriage is not legally recognized. As I would like to live with a female partner in the future, “Marriage," in the sence of two people of the opposite sex, which is currently recognized in Japan, is not something I feel familiar with. So when I hear that someone I know has married or see news of celebrities getting married, it sometimes feels like a somewhat distant thing to me. Of course, the situation surrounding same-sex marriage and selective surnames seems to have changed a bit for the better in recent years, but it may take more time for an equal marriage system for all. I have been questioning and thinking about the "marriage system" in recent years, but never really had a concrete image of my own "marriage," partly because the system is not in place.


At that time, I borrowed from the library and read a Korean essay, "Two Women Living Together (여자 둘이 살고 있습니다)," which I had been wanting to read for some time. As the blurb says, "Neither single nor marriage, the joyful life of two women and four cats," the book is an essay about the shared life of two friends, Kim Hana and Hwang Seon-woo, from their perspectives. This book covers from how they met to how they started living together, and funny stories of the differences in their personalities that came to light after they started living together. You may be thinking “what’s the difference with a regular share house?” One significant point is that the two are not renting, but rather taking out a loan to jointly purchase a condominium. This way of living, "buying an apartment with a friend and living together," came as a shock to me. When I thought about how I would live in the future, I could only think of two options: being single or living with a partner. I didn't know anyone around me who was living any other way, and I hadn't seen these new ways of living in the shows, movies, and books that I had seen. So I thought to myself, "I could live with close friends! Sounds fun!" and I felt hope for this new way of living.


Many reviewers of the book also commented that they envied them because they did not have to worry about the other party's parents. Each other's parents are only positioned as "friends' parents. If this were a "marriage," I would feel like I had to "take care..." of my parents-in-law, but if they are my friends' parents, I am not obligated to do anything. From the perspective of how to deal with such a partner's family, many people may be attracted to a way of life that is different from the traditional "marriage.” On the other hand, Kim Hana also said, "One day we may have a really big argument, or one of us may get married, and we may have to live separately." This co-living may come to an end someday. But for now, they are happy and want to continue this way of living. Until now, I think the common idea has been to build a marriage/partnership and a base of living in the same place, but after reading this book, I would like to explore other forms of living.

最近、もう1つそのような例を見つけた。私が今ハマっている韓国ドラマ『恋愛体質 〜30歳になれば大丈夫〜』だ。このドラマでは、3人の女性たちが一緒に暮らし、日々の出来事や感情を共有しながら、たくましく生きていく様子が描かれている。この作品は誰かがおすすめしていて、なんとなく見始めただけだったけど、最近、暮らし方について考え始めていた私にはタイムリーなトピックでとても興味深かった!3人のうちの1人はシングルマザーだったり、もう1人は恋人を亡くしていたりと背景も様々だ。こうやってドラマをはじめとして、私たちの目に触れるような身近なところで色々な生き方が提示されていると、新しい暮らし方の可能性を考えるきっかけになりそう。

I recently found another similar example. It is a Korean drama I am currently addicted to, “Be Melodramatic”. In this drama, three women live together and share their daily events and emotions while living strong lives. I only started watching this drama because someone recommended it to me, but it was very interesting and great timing for me as I have recently started thinking about how I live my life. Their backgrounds also vary; one of them is a single mother, the other lost her lover. When various ways of living are presented like this in dramas and such, it seems to trigger us to think about the possibility of new ways of living.


Personally, learning about this new way of living has made me excited for the future. On the other hand, I also wondered, "If there had been a more equal marriage system, would I have found this as appealing as I do now? When I wonder how I would live in the future, I think it is true that my imagination is more limited than that of heterosexual people. For example, some people may have pictured a future, "I will marry a person of the opposite sex and have children... But when they think "I want to live with the same sex," some of them may find it difficult to imagine the future in concrete terms like I do, because they do not have the right to marry or they are not represented in the media much in the first place. In this context, perhaps there was a part of me that felt more hopeful about the new option of "living with friends." Nowadays, people's values and ways of life are becoming more diverse, and I have a feeling that in the future, people will begin to live in even more diverse ways than they do now. There is no "right answer" to how people live their lives, and I hope that everyone's individual ways will be respected much more than they are now. I would like to learn more about different ways of living, and I would like to vote and raise my voice to make the "marriage system" more equal for more people.


Marriage For All Japan 結婚の自由をすべての人に - どうして同性婚

Marriage For All Japan 結婚の自由をすべての人に - 日本のパートナーシップ制度

みんなのパートナーシップ制度 - 全国パートナーシップ制度 導入状況

好書好日 - 「女ふたり、暮らしています。」インタビュー 「結婚適齢期」なんて必要ない!ローン組んで猫4匹も一緒

Netflix - 恋愛体質 〜30歳になれば大丈夫〜

一条Yit - 7個廣州閨蜜合力造民宿 7 Girlfriends in Guangzhou Build a House to Live Together

Rina Sawayama - Chosen Family (Official Audio)

Images by Azusa and Rina Amagaya

Edited by Mio and Hikari

English Translated by Yayoi

English Edited by Hanayo

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