• September 30, 2020
    • October 12, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: The Secrets of Japanese Food to Enrich Your Daily Meal

    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
    • October 27, 2022

    Philosophy Trivia: What Is Timeless Design? What Is Time?

    The definition of time People in the luxury furniture industry seem to like the words “timeless design,” right? Yes, our company also uses them for our products very often. 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 by talking about this kind of a bit complicated things, I always try 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 be patient for a little more time and don’t have a rejection to […]

    • September 25, 2020
    • October 12, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: Why People Take Off Shoes in House in Japan?

    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
    • October 25, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: You Will Want to Eat Japanese School Lunch

    Japanese good manners trained in school lunch As I wrote about 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 that 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 after reading this article. It’s just a part of normal daily life of Japanese school kids. It’s nothing special for us, but I learned from feedback comments for the video that viewers had found some good points about Japan. School lunch is one of the school subjects 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. Of course, professional dietitians prepare the menu, which […]

    • September 21, 2020
    • October 14, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: How to Co-exist with Nature in Japan

    Necessity is the mother of geographical characteristics 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 between forward and backward parking. It may look like putting off trouble later or not, but actually there’s a big difference. 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. Japan is a forest country I may have been misleading you in the above paragraph. […]

    • September 18, 2020
    • October 12, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: Can We Be Free from What Others Think?

    Can we free ourselves from other people’s values? 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. We come to judge each other by online information Less and less people wear neckties. I think the CEOs of the big IT companies, such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. might be […]

    • September 16, 2020
    • October 12, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: Big Brother Is Always Watching You in Japan

    A popular 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 […]

    • September 9, 2020
    • October 12, 2022

    What Is Real Wealth? Market Principles Are Always Right?

    Furniture making is an endangered business in Japan 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. Some jobs are disappearing together with cultures In Japan in Heian period (794 – 1185), it was a hobby or art among aristocracy to […]

    • 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 […]

    • September 2, 2020
    • January 27, 2023

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: What You Should Be Careful About in Kyoto

    Kyoto language is too difficult even for most of the Japanese people As you know, most Japanese people can’t speak English very well. Looking on the bright side, Japan is basically a monolingual country, and you can communicate only in Japanese anywhere in Japan. Mind you, there’s one exception: It’s Kyoto. It’s the ancient capital of Japan. No offense if you are a big fan of Kyoto, but Kyoto people are often said to be snobbish and behave like still believing Kyoto is the center of Japan. It’s just an aside, but I think it’s funny (interesting) that Kyoto and Hokkaido are always competing for the first place in the popularity ranking of Japan 47 prefectures, though their characters are completely different. Kyoto is oldest; Hokkaido is newest. For your information, Hokkaido has always defeated Kyoto and maintained the first place in the popularity ranking for these 14 years. What […]