Choice of the future

A throwback Thursday. This was taken at the entrance of Dept Dentistry when I succeeded at the entrance exam to Dept Medicine of my mother school. I was applying for the entrance to the school. Almost half a century ago. Why before Dept Dentistry? I can't remember that. Stubbly beard wearing sandal?? Terrible outlook. Have not imagined what would follow this. In the end of March somewhere in Tokyo.

I have told about it somewhere before. While studying mechanical engineering at a college, I felt it was not a calling for me. I would like to learn something more human. At first, Russian literature or something was in my mind. A vague idea to be a teacher after studying literature. Later, I was fascinated by psychiatric humanology or philosophy. I have read the works of Jaspers, Minkovsky, Frankle or Kamiya etc. Understanding each individual from the psychiatric or psychological standpoint seemed really attractive to me. Of course, the fact my parents had worked as medical staff at hospitals was another factor which lead me to this profession.

Studying medicine at the school, I knew there were only limited ways to treat psychiatric patients those days. Philosophical humanology might work, I thought impudently at that time, to understand the patients but give us little chance to treat them. I was more inclined to do with the sick children, who were more responsive to treatment than the patients in psychiatry, which was another prejudice, if it was proper. Anyway, at graduation, I have made up my mind to be a pediatrician. On the other hand, I told a girl colleague to be a psychiatrist. She was so naive to follow my advice. Yes, she is my wife. I have never asked if she had been happy with that choice of specialty. So far, no complaint to me.

Years have passed.


  1. Dr Shin...would you do differently in your career choice if you could re-run your life? I sense that you did make the right choice and in XYL, for sure!

    Steve VE7SL 73

  2. Hi Steve,

    I have been thinking what and how to answer to your question. At my age of 67 years, it is difficult to imagine how I would have been if I chose another career in young days. I am still struggling in my life at present.

    Before entering the med university, I attended to another university where I was going to major in philosophy. Being unable to give up an idea to be an MD, I quit that school in a week or two. If I went on studying there, I would have been a teacher, which was another career I wanted to go for. Quite different life might have been spread before me then.

    I won't regret, however, my choice of profession. I might become a pediatrician again if I am allowed to live my life again. It was a rewarding work for me. It is only regret that I could not see the patients I have cared for. They were really kind of my family members. I only hope they are doing fine now.

    How about you?

  3. Shin, I think it should yield much gratification for you, knowing that you would choose a similar 'life path' if you were given a second opportunity! I often admire those adults that are bold enough to change their career after many years, knowing that they are missing something or curious enough to learn something new. Like my own father, I was never a 'risk taker' and once established as a teacher in secondary education (Technology Ed) teaching students from age 13 - 17, I never had the courage to try something new.
    Were I given the choice of paths to choose again, it would be a different one. I learned in my 20's how much I enjoyed the outdoors, especially when it came to fishing in coastal rivers. Likely I would now choose a path that encompassed fish habitat, survival and river environmental protection. I never felt totally satisfied as a high school teacher ... I loved the day-to-day interaction with students and working with them, especially those with special needs but I detested the bureaucracy of the system as well as the internal politics. Our provincial government has treated the teaching profession terribly over the years so that the once proud tradition of being a public educator has fallen in the eyes of much of the public ... a sad situation as we are now seeing a shortage of younger teachers and those entering university to become teachers.

  4. An interesting story, Steve. I fully understand what bureaucracy the job of teacher should face to. That was a reason why I had given it up when considering which way I should go to, med or teaching. Teachers should be respected and treated better in the society. In Japan, many young people are applying for it only because of its apparent stability as a career position. I don't think they are not rewarded enough. Those youth with much capability and enthusiasm for education should become teachers given better status in the society. I believe education gives us the intellectual basis in the society. I am convinced that as there are more and more movements toward populism and even authoritarianism everywhere in the world.

    You may enjoy outdoor and devote yourself to the environmental protection. I know when retired, we are apt to have health issues or to have weakened physical strength. However, I hope you to go on being outdoor so far as you could.

    Don't you know another Steve KB6VSE who has worked as a forest ranger? You may enjoy talking to him.


  5. Shin,
    I bet you would have been successful (and happy) in any of those pursuits. The only question I have is do you ever feel uncomfortable thinking that your wife is "psycho-analyzing" you? ;-)

    1. I have given it up to reflect and evaluate own life in the past, even though I often recall it. I should go forward step by step thanking to the others for their support and love, I believe. Success or failure? At the moment I pass away, I may reach a conclusive answer to that question.

      I have been a psychiatrist for my wife throughout our marriage. Just in an attitude of psychotherapist to her. Listen and listen. She has given
      diagnoses to the visitors, either from Japan or overseas, after they quit here. Would you visit us here? You will get a right diagnosis from her for sure.