• September 30, 2020
    • April 23, 2022

    Why Japanese Food Looks Beautiful

    Make life happy without money Do you believe money can’t buy you love? I may be too old to believe in such a naïve world as the Beatles sang. According to Daniel Kahneman, a genius winning a Nobel Prize in 2002, money can buy you happiness. No rush. I didn’t mean like “Hey look! There’s nothing more to life than money!” His point is nothing like that. His words continued, “as long as your annual income is less than 75,000 dollars.” He raised a serious problem for us. The more we get paid, the more likely we are to lose an ability to enjoy life. Money is not omnipotent. Let’s learn from the wisdom of our ancestors to make life happy without relation to money. Simple food on well-thought-out dishes Before the COVID pandemic, I flew around the world. The business trips taught me many unique points of Japan. Most […]

    • September 28, 2020
    • April 23, 2022

    Do You Want to Know What Timeless Design Is?

    The definition of time People in this industry like the words “timeless design,” right? Yes, our company also uses them for our products. To tell the truth, they sound a bit confusing to me because the definition of “time” is not completely settled in physics and philosophy. Today, I’m writing about timeless design from the view point of physics and philosophy. No worries but be careful. I’m not an expert in the fields, but just like to show myself smarter than what I actually am 🙂 The magic word, entropy Time flows at a constant rate — Newton developed the concept; Einstein denied it a long time ago. Now in physics, the flow of time is expressed by the change in entropy. Please don’t have a rejection to the word “entropy.” It’s the magic word that makes you look smart. Let’s say “Entropy increased a lot” instead of saying “A […]

    • September 25, 2020
    • April 16, 2022

    Why Japanese People Take Off Shoes in House

    Even if the shoe fits, take it off inside the house When going in the house, we take off shoes almost unconsciously. It’s very natural for us, like breathing. I’ve never even thought why that is, but it seems there are many curious people trying to find out the reason.  According to them: 1. It’s because the climate of Japan is high temperature and humidity; 2. It’s because of the Japanese unique culture to divide the world into in- and out-group; 3. It’s because of the Japanese unique culture to sleep on the floor.  The first one doesn’t answer why that is peculiar to Japan. The second one sounds reasonable but is remotely related. The third one has aroused my interest most. According to the third reason, we take off shoes inside the house to keep the floor clean because we sleep on the floor. My intellectual curiosity is stimulated, and I started […]

    • September 23, 2020
    • April 23, 2022

    I’m Sure You Will Want to Eat Japanese School Lunch

    As I wrote an inconvenient truth of Japan in last article, I’m going to write something good today. It’s about Japanese school lunch. I happened to find a YouTube video about Japanese school lunch is buzzing for people outside Japan. Surprisingly enough, it’s got more than 28 million views! Please do check out the video by visiting the full article on our blog. It’s just a part of normal daily life, nothing special for us, but I learned from feedback comments for the video that viewers had found some good points about Japan. In the first place, I need to explain a little about Japanese school lunch. In most elementary and junior high schools in Japan, lunch is served fresh off each school kitchen. A homeroom teacher and students eat together in a class room. By the way, I belonged to the faculty of education, and practical training at an […]

    • September 21, 2020
    • April 16, 2022

    We Are into the Woods in Japan

    As you can see it in the above left image, Japan is a country of backward parking. Even speeding drivers follow the rule. Do you know why that is? Some people outside Japan may think there’s no difference. It may look like putting off trouble later or not, but actually it’s not. In the first place, if it’s just a matter of personal preference, the ratio should be nearly fifty-fifty. The fact is very simple. It’s easier to park backward in a small country like Japan. I don’t explain here the details why backward parking is easier in a small area, but it is clear from the fact that forklift trucks required to turn in a small radius are rear-wheel steering. I may have been misleading you in the above paragraph. Japan’s land area is not that small. It’s ranked as #61 among more than 190 countries in the world. […]

    • September 18, 2020
    • April 16, 2022

    Furniture Is Selected Only for Self-Satisfaction in Japan

    Martin Luther said “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” The words first reminded me of wall paintings in Lascaux Cave where Cro-Magnon people tried to express themselves without expecting someone else to see. Martin Luther and Cro-Magnon people taught me that we can free ourselves from other people’s values. Having said that, I still wear neat clothes outside; so ragged ones at home that even Cro-Magnon people would be surprised to see me at home. Their lessons don’t seem to be enough for my independence in clothes choice, but the IT revolution might finally free me. Less and less people wear neckties. I think the CEOs of the big IT companies, such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. might be one of the reasons for that. Give it a thought. Why do you think the custom has […]

    • September 16, 2020
    • May 16, 2022

    Big Brother Is Always Watching You in Japan

    Japanese joke On a ship with people from various countries, you’re the first to notice the ship is sinking. What to say to make the people escape and jump in the water? To American people: “Jump, and you’ll be a hero!” To British people: “A true gentleman/lady would jump.” To French people: “Do not jump!” To German people: “The regulations say we must jump.” To Japanese people: “Everybody else has already jumped.” This is a very famous joke in Japan. I think it expresses one of the Japanese characteristics very well. In most junior-high and high schools, teachers tell us to behave the same as everybody else. At home, parents scold their kids, saying “No one would do something like that!” The only exception is when they beg for the same things as their friends have. If kids say “I want a new bicycle. My friend had one recently,” their […]

    • September 9, 2020
    • May 16, 2022

    Do You Believe Market Principles Are Always Right?

    An extinct butterfly Last month, the Ministry of the Environment announced that a butterfly species (shown in the above image) endemic to Japan might have been extinct. The butterflies inhabited only in the southern islands of Japan. A massive decrease in their population has been seen for these 30 years due to predation by alien species of lizards brought in as a pet. This news is depressing and also scary because I always see ourselves in extinct creatures. It could happen to any of Japanese furniture manufacturers in the near future. What waits for extinct businesses is more sad ending than that of the butterfly. Most of the people may not even notice it. We will be just lost in oblivion. Extinct jobs In Japan in Heian period (794 – 1185), it was a hobby or art among aristocracy to listen to insect voices. Good grasshoppers, crickets, etc. were selected […]

    • September 7, 2020
    • April 20, 2022

    We Don’t Leave Our Destiny in 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. Invisible hand 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 by […]

    • September 2, 2020
    • May 16, 2022

    Take a Hint, Tough Even for the Japanese People

    Japan is basically a monolingual country. People can communicate only in Japanese anywhere in Japan, with one exception: Kyoto. As most of you may know, it’s the ancient capital of Japan. Kyoto people are snobbish. I believe this is a stereotypical idea of many Japanese people outside of Kyoto. Making matters worse, their language is too difficult. It’s not about their accent or dialect. In Kyoto, we’re always required to understand the implication of their words. Let me give you some examples. If your kids are running around in a restaurant, the restaurant staff might smile at you and say “They are so cheerful.” Don’t you ever reply like “Yeah, they’re so excited about coming here in Kyoto.” The staff means “Shut them up!” Even if you wear a cheesy shirt, Kyoto people would smile gently and say “You look good no matter what you wear.” I’m not blaming Kyoto […]