One of my best friends, Ken Shiotani, went to University of Tokyo for many years. First he finished the master's course at the mathematics department. Then he went on to work at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Having met his wife and thus getting a means of living, he happily quitted his job, and went back to the campus, this time as a graduate student at the philosophy of science department. He stayed in the department for 9 years, the maximum time allowed by the regulations. After graduating, he has held no position basically, except for a brief period of time when he had a job at University of Chiba. Shiotani has been a "philosopher at large", known for his sharp intellect and powerful speech deliveries, but without any steady or even temporary jobs.
For some years I hoped that he would one day get some position, but having seen how institutions destroy the free spirit by numerous administrative chores, and a false sense of self-importance, I now feel that his position as a freelance philosopher is probably the best one.
I don't know why, but I thought of him first thing this morning, after having had a very strange dream involving a chair and a cliff.
Ken Shiotani, the philosopher at large.
Ken Shiotani's notebook of philosophical ideas.