There are three kinds of employees in Japan: full time, part time, and arubaito (ah-roo-BAI-toh). The last type, the name for which comes from the german word for "work" (arbeit), refers to contract-less employees who are paid by the hour and work irregular or semi-temporary schedules, as differentiated from full company employees, who have benefits like twice-annual bonuses and vacation time, and semi-official part-timers, who also have some formal benefits. One of the biggest trends in post-bubble Japanese society is the tendency of younger workers to shun traditional full-time employment, instead being content to work informal jobs staffing video rental stores and gas stations, tutoring at evening cram schools, and so on. According to a new government report, an amazing 35% of the workforce now occupies these "non-regular" employment positions, exchanging freedom to change jobs at will and less on-the-job stress for lower job security. Why so many would choose to work as "freeters" (as these part-time and temporary workers are called) puzzles older Japanese, who of course benefited greatly from the stable economic growth of the postwar period. The reasons 'baito is so popular are many, but one big one is that many Japanese have come to value their own leisure time over work. This is a good thing of course, although I personally consider the industriousness of the Japanese people as a whole to be no less than a National Treasure for the country, and something that I hope will continue into the future.