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    • November 24, 2022
    • November 25, 2022

    The Effective Use of Waste: We Donate Our Waste Leather

    Rosso Corsa. These Italian words mean the signature red color of Ferrari. When I was into Ferrari, I heard some myths about color mixing to realize Rosso Corsa. Some said the color of the primer (base coat) must be yellow to realize the passionate red, while others said it was just pink to develop the surface red brighter. It was still the dawn of the Internet, and I just enjoyed such dubious rumors. One day, I came across a book reporting the restoration of 365BB (a classic Ferrari car), and saw a picture of the signature red layer peeled off. Under Rosso Corsa was just greenish gray, the common color of primer. I learned the truth is boring. Since then, I have become interested and studied a little about car painting. As you may easily be able to imagine, the painting process of automobile factories is under automation and strict […]

    • February 7, 2022
    • October 25, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: CondeHouse Furniture Factory Tour in Hokkaido

    Asahikawa, Hokkaido, it’s the city of rivers This is the central station of our hometown, Asahikawa, seen from due south. The two bridges are still new, built about 10 years ago. In the days without the two bridges, the city center was divided into two parts, and the south side of the station was just a deserted area. Even now, the area is full of nature for the second biggest city in Hokkaido with the population of 340,000. The river is so clean and beautiful that I once saw a businessman in a suit walking down from the station, taking out a fishing rod from his briefcase, and fishing trout in a moment. He looked so cool like James Bond. Anyway, having an oasis in the very center is one of the charms of our hometown, but our chairman doesn’t seem to be satisfied at all. Riversides should be a […]

    • October 29, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Wooden Ball Pit: The Use of Wood Waste for Eco-friendly Production

    A ball pit is Japanese standard playground equipment Once upon a time (like 30 years ago) when I was a kid, department stores seemed to be particularly attractive, like an amusement park. They had all sorts of toys, candies, food, everything children get engrossed in. Although it’s funny if I think back about it now, almost all the Japanese department stores had a playground on the rooftop. A ball pit was one of the most popular playground equipment back then. Even after such a playground was gone from the department stores, a ball pit still looks popular for kids. Nowadays even personal type is sold on Amazon. Today, let me introduce our wooden ball pit. The high quality wooden ball pit made by a wooden furniture maker A wooden ball pit is quite common in Japan, but our product is unique and different from others. The wooden balls are made […]

    • June 22, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Fake and Real Leather: Can You Tell the Difference?

    Genuine and artificial leather Do you know how to distinguish genuine leather? Japanese import tariff on leather and leather goods is very high in order to protect domestic industry. When I worked as a customs inspector, it was important and also difficult to distinguish genuine and artificial leather declared to customs. Some of you may say “I can tell by the smell,” but that’s not correct. The smell generally believed as leather smell comes mainly from oil used at the final process. Some genuine leather doesn’t have the smell. How to distinguish real leather The quick trick customs inspectors use is to put a nail mark on leather (behind declarer’s back, of course). When it’s genuine leather, it remains longer (sometimes forever—I’m sorry, importers). Unfortunately, this trick is not always effective. Correct leather thickly polyurethane-painted and furthermore embossed shows almost the same reaction as artificial leather. The introduction has become […]

    • June 4, 2021
    • October 7, 2022

    The Discontinuation of Morgan 4/4: Was It the Right Decision?

    Free-will decisions and market principles Are you always confident of your free-will decisions? MISTRA (Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart, 1990) has proved our ways of thinking and behaving are NOT genetically affected. The surrounding environment affects us much more. To be honest, I even doubt the existence of free will, though. Let me ask one more question. Do you believe market principles are always correct? We ordinary people don’t always make rational decisions based on detailed and correct knowledge, just as the principles expect. Free-will decisions and market principles are two main grounds that neo-liberalism is based on. I don’t like neo-liberalism. It’s not because of such weak grounds but because it steals my favorite things, such as Morgan 4/4. The unique heritage of Morgan The legendary car debuted in 1936 and continued to be produced without changing the basic design for more than 80 years. Can you believe […]

    • January 7, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Psychology Trivia: The Power of a Name

    No-name is real rock! I started playing the guitar when I was 15 years old. It was around when NIRVANA started dominating the music scene and destroying the existing values. People made a fuss, saying “Alternative Rock is not tainted by commercialism.” I gave cold look to such fanatical people. I love NIRVANA even now, but they didn’t look new to me at all because they had a name, the same as the existing bands. I know this opinion sounds very strange, though. Names are practically necessary for anyone, but the young me purely wanted rock musicians to be anti-establishment. Today, let me introduce real rock in that sense. It’s Souseki Natsume. He is the most famous novelist in Japan (1867 – 1916). His masterpiece is “I Am a Cat.” The story starts with these sentences “I am a cat. As yet I have no name.” How rock it is! […]

    • December 29, 2020
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: Satisfy Your Thirst for Knowledge, Even a Little Bit

    We’re competing for people’s time online What’s the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday? As I checked them on Wikipedia, the former came into use in 70’s; the latter was just born in 2005. I feel both are fast spreading also in Japan in these few years. Now that the main sales battlefield is online, they are synonym to me. Actually, in the U.S., Black Friday 2020 online sales gained more than 20% on 2019, while store traffic was down by more than 50%. Coupled with the COVID pandemic, a battle for online sales becomes more severe. In other words, companies are now competing for people’s time online. This is not somebody else’s issue. I very well know I’m a part of the competition. Today, let me explain the logic and strategy behind this blog. Logic and strategy behind this blog In most cases, the articles of the blog […]

    • December 8, 2020
    • October 15, 2022

    Business Tips: Which Is Better, a Generalist or Specialist?

    Survival is only for professionals with more than two skills Many people seem to discuss this issue a lot these days. Probably, we are afraid that robots may take over human jobs in the near future. In Japan, generalists have dominated the business world for a long time, but the odds may become against them. The future of even specialists is not completely secured, though. Some business books say we need two specialized skills in order to compete robots in business. That sounds desperate especially to generalists like me. You’ve heard about the 10000-hour rule, right? Malcolm Gladwell has written we must spend at least 10000 hours to become a true master of any skill. It seems almost impossible for a generalist to aim for a specialist from today. Can we (generalists) escape this certain death? Generalists see the bigger picture While struggling in despair, I found a book with […]

    • December 1, 2020
    • September 25, 2022

    Two Good Talkers Are Not Worth One Good Listener

    Not good tellers but good listeners If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would you choose? It may sound stupid but is a very common question in Japan. People are asking each other like, if you could only eat it for the rest of your life, would it be curry or ramen? Anyway, if it’s about movies, it’s an easy question for me. “Stand by Me” is it, but today’s article is not about the movie itself but about the phrase in the original story by Stephen King. The phrase he wrote in the story has since been a compass in my life, though I don’t remember it word by word. He wrote like: good stories disappear due to a lack of good listeners not talkers. Save good stories from going to the graves Have you ever discovered in a conversation a new […]

    • September 7, 2020
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Trivia: Resist the Destiny under the Control of the Invisible Hand

    The world becomes more economically rational Adam Smith is one of the the 18th century’s leading philosophers and also economists. He said that the market might appear chaotic but was actually guided by an invisible hand. People act or choose actions for self interest. Such actions result in the economic growth of the whole society. Thanks to the IT revolution, we are able to compare commodities more quickly and widely. In other words, our self-interest choices must be more accurate. Accordingly, our society must get more economically rational at least. The invisible hand becomes more powerful due to the IT revolution The invisible hand has been gaining more power due to the IT revolution. I don’t wholeheartedly celebrate that, though. Indeed, we consumers are able to make more rational choices. Products, producers, sellers, etc. surviving at this moment have passed market valuation. The valuation is getting more and more severe […]