Kyodo News At a restaurant in Tokyo’s fashionable Ebisu district, eatery manager Mitsuho Abe skillfully slices fresh pieces of raw flatfish with a kitchen knife and prepares potherb mustard salad.
But there is more to the 32-year-old than just cooking. Before and after hours he works as a food copywriter, writing copy for projects such as television advertisements.
Abe secretly opened the restaurant three years ago in a bid to develop his cooking skills while simultaneously working in a Tokyo advertising agency.
“I went to a fish market to buy fish and was sometimes glared at by my bosses, but I tried to successfully double as a company employee and a restaurant manager,” he said.
After a year of moonlighting, Abe quit the agency to deal with the increasing number of customers who patronize his restaurant.
He continues his sideline in copy writing because “the two jobs stimulate each other through the common item of food,” he said.
“Copy writing is much more enjoyable than being a company employee.” Abe, who feels no need to stick to one profession or company, feels his life can be enriched by engaging in two trades at the same time.
This tendency appears to be spreading across Japan.
Masayasu Morita, 25, is an official at Tokyo’s Atmark Inter-Highschool, which allows students to study from home via the Internet. Responsible for courses preparing students for study at overseas universities, he keeps busy readying students for the academic year starting in April. At the same time, Morita runs a think tank on information technology education. He is also an executive director of a subsidiary of Space ALC Inc., a company that develops language teaching materials. And he is a graduate student at Columbia University in New York.
He does not have time to fly over to New York often, where he has nearly completed his study of educational methods that use personal computers. However, he has been applying the results of his studies to his work at the school and Space ALC.
“A new business requires new money and personnel. If there is a job that I want to do, I become a partner to a company that has been successful in the field. That’s more efficient,” he said.
A wide range of social activities are supported by the Internet.
“e-mail exchanges are enough unless things are very important or require conferences,” Morita said. “The more double trades increase, the wider my possibilities become. And so I have grown,” he said. “I hate to work for a company that bans a side business under its rules. I feel as if I’m suffocating in working for such a place.”
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.