It seems only natural that everyone should have a wild time, at least once in their life, because for the most part our mortal span is occupied with studying, making a living or raising a family. All that, of course, can be fun -- but it tends to be rather serious stuff as well.

For many people in Japan, their wild time comes during their student days. Although the nation's universities are sometimes dubbed as little more than "leisure centers," who can blame students there for wanting to let their hair down for those few years -- whether by throwing themselves into a theater group, windsurfing and working on their tans . . . or whatever.

After all, most of those students will have crammed like crazy to get into the best university possible, and when they leave the best that many can hope for is to face the prospect of a slavelike job in a Japanese company.