My hikikomori grad lifestyle / 院生の引きこもり生活





Today is a holiday here in the US, specifically for voting. Many people have the day off the work, and the universities are closed. However, there is no such thing as a holiday for a grad student writing a thesis.

Today I walked through a deserted campus with only a nod to the stray fellow grad student on the way to offices inside of locked buildings. I dodged texts from my Japanese friends (all undergrads) who wanted to spend the day hanging out.

I must be strong and I must embrace my new hikikomori lifestyle for the next month.

What is hikikomori? It’s a term for shut-ins, often young Japanese in their 20’s, often men. It’s more than just being lazy and not leaving your house; it’s often accompanied by paralyzing fear of going into public and associating with other people.

Hikikomori anime: Welcome to the NHK!

Hikikomori anime: Welcome to the NHK!

The incident that begins the hikikomori lifestyle may be heartbreak, failing grades, or bullying. But once someone begins to withdraw from going outside and interacting with other people, the trauma can be increased and they can become more entrenched in their own withdrawal.

A hikikomori room, when it's impossible to leave the room to throw out trash: Welcome to the NHK!

A hikikomori room, when it’s impossible to leave the room to throw out trash: Welcome to the NHK!

My friends and I use the term hikikomori to jokingly refer to my isolation while writing my thesis, but it’s actually an important psychological problem for many people.


4 thoughts on “My hikikomori grad lifestyle / 院生の引きこもり生活

  1. Tama

    My university had classes as usual, too.
    Temporary hikikomori, eh? When I wrote my diss., I spent am and pm in different coffee shops,. Oh, a fond memory (not).


    • Really? Maybe it’s not as widespread of a holiday as it seems in my state… A dissertation sounds much harder than a thesis! At least you had the opportunity to change it up with different coffee shops, and now you are done! Nice job!


  2. Oh really? Was it day off yesterday? I had a normal day unfortunately(My university had classes as usual). I actually have some moments to be alone at my house without doing anything else but eating and sleeping haha.


    • Really? I’m surprised the California universities didn’t have the day off for election day. I like spending some time by myself at home, but since I don’t take classes I can be alone often if I don’t go to my campus office.


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