• July 29, 2020
    • October 14, 2022

    Unique Business in Japan: A restaurant Run by People with Dementia

    All the servers are people with dementia In Tokyo last year opened a restaurant. The name is “Restaurant of Mistaken Orders.” What features the restaurant is all the servers working there are people living with dementia. According to their website, the servers may or may not get your order right. When I heard the news, I was so impressed. It’s not because I’m a good guy full of humanity but because it proves my marketing theory: People choose something not for its value but for its meaning. Differentiation doesn’t work any more Many marketers say differentiation is the key to success in business, but how? Now that the world is filled up with a lot of things, information, and services, it’s almost impossible to clearly differentiate something from others. Even if you can make it, the similar or better one would come up soon in the market. In addition, most […]

    • July 27, 2020
    • August 18, 2022

    How to Design Furniture, Michael Schneider #1

    Product design with the times Many social scientists say we humans will, for coming 100 years, experience the same amount of change as what we had got through over the last 2000 years. It’s not only about technological advancement but also about our mentality. People become less interested in owning things (as shown in the rise of subscription and sharing business models). Our economic activities shrink day by day. How should we manufacturers adapt? I threw this question at one of our product designers, Michael Schneider. Michael Schneider: I am affirmative on subscription and sharing business models because they will enable us to live our lives with less costs and pollution. We are living in times of saturated markets, global warming, and limited resources. In such a condition, we have to make sacrifices to some degrees. Thanks to IT revolution and digitization, people will realize many business ideas more easily […]

    • July 22, 2020
    • September 21, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: Interview with a Manager #2

    Interview wit a product development manager Let me continue to share the interview with our product development manager. “Products in good quality and design don’t always sell well.” These words aroused my interest in his opinion on design, because he meant market valuation about design would not always be appropriate. Then what is good design from the view point of a product development manager? Q 4. If what you said is correct, are there products that are bad in design but good in sales? Good sales doesn’t always mean good design? A 4. Sadly for me, design is not a centerpiece factor any more to decide if a product sells well or not. Now that marketing, advertisement, etc. have more significant influence, people are more likely to decide not by physical factors like design and quality but by impression fostered by advertising media, for example. Q 5. What is good […]

    • July 20, 2020
    • October 6, 2022

    Difference in Production Management Between Ferrari and Toyota

    Production in Ferrari and Toyota According to the government, we have experienced the longest economic expansion since after the WWII. Although it seems like we ordinary people are left out of the economic boom. Surprisingly enough, more than 500 of Ferrari cars are annually sold somewhere in Japan, not around me at least. Speaking of Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari (the founder of Ferrari) left these famous words. “In the beginning the engine existed.” His point is it’s engines that feature Ferrari. Italian craftsmanship, based on expert technique and experience, realizes the world’s leading engines. There’s a consensus for that anywhere in the world. This doesn’t mean Toyota is inferior to Ferrari. I think the production of Toyota is also another act of God. They annually produce millions of cars in high and constant quality. No matter how much the price is, cars are precision machines consisting of more than 30000 pieces […]

    • July 16, 2020
    • June 17, 2022


    When traveling in Yufuin, Kyushu (sorry, it’s not about Hokkaido), last summer, I randomly walked into this famous Shiba Inu Café, which was the one I always wanted to visit. The reason why I like shooting animals more than people is because I can easily capture ideal views without any communication. For people, they are always too shy to act natural in front of the camera. Natural light is always the best decoration for a photo. Hopefully I can take a sweet nap like her this weekend.

    • July 15, 2020
    • September 21, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: Interview with a Manager #1

      Interview with a product development manager Are you interested in our product development stories? I actually am! Due to specialization at work, I don’t know much about how our products have been developed. Under the veil of work, I asked many questions to our product development manager. The questions that I’m personally interested in the answers to. They are more about the value he has in product development, rather than concrete methods of product development. This is delivered in two times: this week and next week. Q 1. Why did you decide to work in the product development of furniture, not other products? A 1. When I studied at Collage of Arts, the most popular industries were cars and electrical appliances, but most people working there didn’t look so happy. As specialization progressed, some people always worked on door mirrors, others worked on switch knobs, etc. On the other […]

    • July 13, 2020
    • October 25, 2022

    Marketing Tips: What Is a Reasonable Price?

    What is a reasonable price? I know it doesn’t look like that, but this object in the above image is a lounge chair. The chair can flexibly change its shape by moving each curved board consisting of the outer frame. For your information, the price is highest among our chair lineup. With the same amount of money, you may buy full sets of living and dining furniture at IKEA, for example. I think it’d be very natural for many peole to take it very expensive in the first impression.     All-out cost reduction efforts Market prices are naturally fixed by the supply and demand balance. As the supply is likely to exceed the demand by technological development nowadays, price setting becomes more market-oriented, while ours is still product-oriented. I didn’t mean we have power to make a decision on price. For us, a furniture manufacturer, it’s beyond capacity to […]

    • July 9, 2020
    • June 25, 2022

    Portrait Mode

    Have you ever used the portrait mode of your Iphone camera? It uses the combination of two different lenses, plus data algorithm to reach an effect similar to what the optical lens of high-end cameras makes. Even though it’s still a not-fully-developed technique, I have to admit it does make gorgeous pictures when lighting is right on point. This is a photo I took with my Iphone at last week’s CondeHouse barbecue event. The bright natural light even made the smoke extra visible. It’s amazing how technology development has enable everyone to capture fascinating moments easily with just a phone. I guess you can say this is one of the reasons why I love photography.

    • July 8, 2020
    • December 6, 2022

    Japan Tips from Locals: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel

    The hotel was intact even after the Great Kanto Earthquake The Imperial Hotel was built in 1923, demolished in 1967. Only the entrance is still left as a museum in a small city in Aichi prefecture, far away from Tokyo where it was originally built. In order to make it the best hotel in Asia, the hotel company placed an order for Frank Lloyd Wright to design it. The name of the architect is one of the big factors for the building to go down in history like this, but there’s another big factor. On the very day of unveiling the hotel, the Great Kanto Earthquake hit Tokyo and claimed more than 140000 lives. Surprisingly enough, however, the hotel remained intact in such an unprecedented disaster. God in the decorations I visited the museum sometimes when I lived near the small city where the museum is located. What impressed me […]

    • July 6, 2020
    • October 25, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: How to Make a Wooden Chair #5

    Tense chemistry made in the process No matter how many times they have gone through the same process, the product development team gets tense when presenting the first prototype of a new design to designers and receiving their initial feedback. The designers are so meticulous that they, at times, point out slightest details. It’s so detailed like “The armrests are five-millimeter thicker than the specification in my drawing.” I believe it is a starting point to eliminate discrepancies between them. To be more precise, they’re struglling to fill the gap between the prototype made by the product development team and the image designers have in their mind. The product development team always aims to fulfill structural and technical feasibilities as well as manufacturing efficiency, while making their best efforts to meet designers’ requests.   What makes us a Japanese brand? CondeHouse has collaborated with many designers from all over the […]