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別にホームレスなわけじゃなくて、家にかえりたくないだけ (Betsu ni hōmuresuna wake janakute, ie ni kaeritakunai dake, “It’s not that I’m homeless, I just don’t feel like going home!”). So said a friend at a 飲み会 (nomikai, drinking party) recently, and the statement was met with nodding heads, all of them male.

This particular nomikai was a casual 仕事がらみ (shigoto-garami, work-related) get-together, and the age range varied from late 30s to late 40s. Only three of the 12 attendees were women, and almost everyone was a 会社員 (kaisha-in, company employee). The talk followed the typical nomikai pattern of everyone complaining about their jobs — defined by long hours and burdensome protocols — and then their resulting health woes.

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