Into the Woods

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’s like putting off trouble later or not. If it’s a matter of personal preference, the ratio should be nearly fifty-fifty. The fact is very simple: it’s easier in a small country like Japan. I don’t explain here 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 in the above paragraph. Japan’s land area is not that small (ranked as #61 among more than 190 countries in the world), but about 70% of the land is covered by forest. Compared by population density in inhabitable area, Japan is ranked as #10. Japan’s abundant forest resources make our inhabitable area smaller and develop our unique culture, like backward-parking and so much more.

Due to a small inhabitable area, we have improved a lot of techniques to use limited spaces effectively. The good example is two-in-one inventions, like one of our products “ALP sofa” that can be used as both a living seat and a dining bench. The long-selling wooden sofa was developed as a direct and indirect result of Japan’s abundant forest resources, and such a spirit of rationality is always seen somewhere in our products.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.




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