For Chikako Ishigo, 70, working at a children's home has not been as worrying or troublesome a job as one might imagine. She says she has never wanted to quit since actively seeking out a career in the field back when she was 35 years old.

"Maybe partly due to my optimistic nature, I've never felt it burdensome to work here," said Ishigo, who has worked at the same private institution, St. Joseph's Home in the city of Nishi-Tokyo, for the last 3½ decades.

She is now a veteran educational manager training younger employees, and also gives advice on all aspects of life to the facility's residents — children between the ages of 2 and 18.