Dan Lewis
Language training manager, 40 (American)
I think I’m better off. I’ve made a couple of successful real estate trades and I have steady employment. In addition to good health and no natural disasters in my area, what more can I ask for, right?

Masumi Ono
Real estate agent, 32 (Japanese)
I got a new job early in 2012, which was a big change for me personally, as before that I was without a job for a while. Also — and for women this is important — I had my hair cut short after some years of having long hair.

Alex Brooke
Seminar outsourcing manager, 38 (English)
Definitely better off, as I now work in the seminar business. This time last year companies were tightening their training budgets, but this year, economically speaking, things are starting to improve and things are looking up.

Sakimi Urata
Fashion student, 20 (Japanese)
I’m a little homesick now as I’m from Kyoto and I miss my family, but I’m following my dream and studying fashion, and I’m better off than last year as I’m in Tokyo — the center of the Japanese fashion industry.

Yusuke Sato
Dock master, 33 (Japanese)
For me personally, early 2012 and the same period this year are much the same all-round as far as work, private life and everything else goes. No big differences. But I will change my job later this year, so that’s something to look forward to.

Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp

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