• May 24, 2022
    • October 14, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: What Is Good about Travel by Train?

    Trains are still the king of transportation for tourism Which transportation do you think is best for your trip? By air, sea, or road? According to a report by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the share of travel by train is highest in the domestic market in Japan. The number-based share of travel by train was about 70% in 2020, and has been increasing year by year, along with a trend that young people turn away from driving. It’s not only about the Japanese people. Almost the same thing can be said about tourists from overseas. The share of rail transportation for such tourists to move around Japan is about 55%. For your information, the second is public bus service with a share of about 30%. The advantages of train transportation over other means I don’t know if it’s the same in your countries, but there are […]

    • February 4, 2022
    • November 3, 2022

    Fight Lookism! No Two Wood Pieces Are Alike; Diversity Makes It Beautiful

    Can you judge apples by appearances? Apples are the most popular seasonal fruit in Japan in winter. You can see a lot of them piling up everywhere. My wife always goes straight to an apple stand in any supermarkets, though I don’t know whether it’s because my wife really likes them or just because they are cheap in this season. Anyway, I eat many apples in winter, apart from whether I like it or not. Her way of selecting apples looks like some magic ritual. With a serious look on her face, checking them from every angle, mumbling something, she carefully picks out the ones she thinks best. I don’t want to deny her efforts, but I can’t see any big difference in taste between what she and I chose, to be honest. Even careful selection is no guarantee It is said that about 30% of agricultural output is thrown […]

    • November 12, 2021
    • October 14, 2022

    What Is the Dispo? People Enjoy Even the Inconvenience of Waiting

    We get used to waiting in a line in Japan What surprises many foreigners who first come to Japan would be huge lineups of people waiting to enter shops, restaurants, etc. In the early phase of the COVID, there were many lineups in front of drug stores even in the early morning, I remember. Those huge lineups are thought to be a symbol to show the patience and politeness of Japanese people. Have you ever looked at them closely? A line of people moving little by little, only looking at their phones with no expression. To be honest, they just look scary and uncanny even to me. Do you know the photo-sharing app Dispo? With a few exceptions like some Japanese people, humans basically dislike being kept waiting, but even such primitive human nature may be changing among the new generation people somehow. Do you know a photo-sharing app called […]

    • October 22, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: What Is the Essence of a Product?

    EV will drastically change car design The deadly battles of rebellions against authorities have just begun. It’s about the battles over EV market share. The famous ones of the rebellions are Google, Apple, and Sony; those of the authorities are Toyota, Volkswagen, and Renault. I’m excited just as an audience to watch the battles because I believe the basic design or structure of cars is highly possible to change drastically through the battles. The great change in the power source of cars finally freed engineers and designers from the problems of heat, noise, and vibration from engines. I expect the change will create electric cars with exciting design completely different from that of gas-powered cars. Fish crates don’t need to be made of wood I’m positive about this change in the car industry for the above reason, but not always positive about all the changes in any industry. For example, […]

    • October 8, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A Confectionery in Hokkaido, Designed by Sou Fujimoto

    Hokkaido is the kingdom of natural resources, though… Hokkaido is a name-brand area even for Japanese people, proudly enough. If saying “I’m from Hokkaido.” outside Hokkaido, we will have a blast in chat. People will come to us and throw words like “I want to go there someday,” “I’ve been there many times,” “I really like beautiful nature and delicious food made of fresh ingredients there,” etc. In fact, Hokkaido is fully surrounded by the sea, and you can enjoy a fresh seafood. In addition, there are many dairy farms, and dairy products are good as well. People are glad to receive those marine or dairy products, but we can’t help but hesitate to bring them as a gift in business settings. To be honest, the package design of those products is often not very good. The problem of Hokkaido souvenirs is in the design quality of their package In […]

    • September 16, 2021
    • January 14, 2023

    Marketing Tips: Customers Don’t Even Know What They Really Want

    We don’t know what we really want A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. This is what Steve Jobs said. As the old saying goes, people don’t know themselves as well as they know others. Sometimes, making matters more complicated, people say the opposite of what they want, which makes marketing more difficult. Even McDonald’s failed The well-known example of behavioral economics is “Salad dish set launched by McDonald’s Japan in 2006.” The product development team of McDonald’s Japan was not smug, not acting arbitrarily. They just developed the epic-fail menu based on questionnaire results asking for healthy salad and saying no to junk food. Ironically, Quarter Pounder series (huge size burgers) debuted in 2008 and were a big hit. Product-out may not be that bad People don’t know exactly what they want. This would be the reason why we can […]

    • March 16, 2021
    • October 14, 2022

    Japanese Craftsmanship: Chairs Upholstered with Japan Blue Jeans (Okayama denim)

    Japanese natural indigo Indigo is a dye extracted from a plant. As Jeans may be a synonym for indigo, it was once used to dye fabric all over the world, not only in Japan. You may think most of the jeans are still dyed in indigo blue. Nowadays, in most cases, it’s an artificial dye because natural indigo is difficult to handle. It requires a delicate adjustment according to the day’s temperature, moisture, etc. In exchange for the difficulty, the natural indigo of Japan provides more beautiful and deeper coloring. Japanese natural indigo has a long history Japan blue. Some of you may have heard this color name because it’s the signature color of the Tokyo Olympic Games. As having looked up the origin of the name, I’ve found it is Robert William Atkinson, a British chemist who named it. The Japanese government invited him to Japan in 1875. He […]

    • February 18, 2021
    • January 30, 2023

    Good Money Sense: How to Spend Money Wisely

    We have to develop money sense It is common for me to lose (rare to make) thousands of dollars a day in the stock market. On the other hand, I sometimes give up buying cereal only because it doesn’t sell at a bargain price, though eating it almost every morning. I once bought a suit at more than 2,000 USD but hardly ever wore it. It was so scary to only think about the possibility to spill something on it. This may be a natural result for a man like me who always wear UNIQLO (synonym for cheap clothes in Japan) from head to toe at home. Spending money seems as difficult as making it. Today’s subject is “How to spend money correctly.” Let me share an interesting paper by Harvard psychologists. Buy experiences instead of things “Money can’t buy happiness. This sentiment is lovely, popular, and almost certainly wrong.” […]

    • February 16, 2021
    • January 27, 2023

    Marketing Tips: Products of the Past Will Soon Go into Oblivion

    Don’t be fooled by survivorship bias! The headquarters of our company is in Hokkaido, the northern most area of Japan. The area is still the kingdom of brown bears. When I was a kid, my father often took me to rivers deep in the mountains to fish, always exploding firecrackers to avoid bears. He often told me “When you encounter a bear, don’t run, act dead.” It’s a kind of superstition widely believed here, but I always doubted it, saying to myself “How do we know that’s correct? We can’t listen to people who failed.” Later on, I learned it was survivorship bias. It is the reason why autobiographical books of successful people are good for nothing in most cases. Survivors survive because they just happened to survive fortunately. In most cases, success stories are difficult to be reproduced. Things get soon forgotten As this may sound a little strange, […]

    • February 2, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Psychology Trivia: We Need Stories to Memorize

    Time exists because of the story memory technique As I wrote before, the definition of “time” is not completely settled in physics and philosophy. To be more precise, the existence of time is often an obstacle to prove the laws of physics. Apparently, it is doubtful in physics. Recently, I read an article by a neuroscientist. It said we felt the existence of time because we memorize as stories all sorts of things that happen in our lives. The story memory technique itself has long been known. The most famous one would be the memory palace method. Although I couldn’t understand even a half of the article, unfortunately, it has reinforced one of my beliefs: we need stories to live. Significant objects I suppose the famous marketing research “Significant Objects” is an example to show an aspect related to this human nature. It’s an experiment devised by Rob Walker and […]