• April 30, 2021
    • January 28, 2023

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: The Characteristics of Hokkaido People

    It’s shown in the national high school baseball championship The most popular sport in Japan is still baseball. A good example is the national high school baseball championship. Every summer, high school teams join it after going through the elimination tournaments held in all the 47 prefectures. Hokkaido, a prefecture located in the northernmost island of Japan, is covered with snow for almost half a year. Maybe because of the bad practice environment, our prefectural representative teams were always weak and lost in the first round of the championship in most cases. When I was a kid, I never believed I would live to see the championship flag in Hokkaido. One summer day in 2004, I was just transferred from the mainland of Japan back to Hokkaido. When I was buying daily necessities for a new home at some shopping mall, the background music suddenly stopped, and the news broke […]

    • April 26, 2021
    • October 14, 2022

    We Can’t Live Without Lying Because We Are Emotional Creatures

    A world without lies How many lies did you tell yesterday? It is said that we lie more than 200 times a day, no worries. “The innovation of lying” is the title of a comedy movie, not new but more than 10 years ago. The movie really wowed me at that time. Mind you: I can’t recommend it. The plot was boring, and there was nothing new in film editing, etc., but I personally think the story setting was impressive. It depicts a world where human beings don’t lie like other animals. Store clerks and restaurant servers are cursing at customers instead of greeting friendly; lovers exchange not compliments but blunt remarks about their appearance each other. The movie clearly shows the tragedies that will happen if we don’t lie. Emotions rather than rationality Most of us have grown up being taught “lying is bad.” The boy who cried wolf […]

    • April 23, 2021
    • October 14, 2022

    Psychological Mystery: Uncanny Valley, Scary Because It’s Too Real

    Zombies VS Aliens As believing I’m not the only one, I feel scared of zombie movies but not of Aliens, Predators, etc. Indeed, all those movies are same in terms that many people are eaten or just killed, though. I had always wondered why that was, and one day, understood the reason when reading an online article about a robot development. The article said Osaka university research team had developed humanoid robots that look exactly like a human being. The robots are well designed and look like us at first glance, but when I saw them move, it soon turned out that they were not human beings. At that time, I felt the same fear as the one I have for zombies. Uncanny Valley: It’s natural human reactions I learned later that it was a psychological phenomenon called “Uncanny Valley.” The more objects resemble human beings, the more people feel […]

    • April 19, 2021
    • December 24, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: The Core Meaning of Japanese Zen

    Sado, the Japanese tea ceremony Have you ever experienced a Japanese tea ceremony? The most notable feature is its beauty of style. In a nutshell, it’s just a ceremony where a host makes matcha green tea and guests drink it. What makes the ceremony unique is it prescribes every single move of making and drinking tea. As far as I know, it already started in the 15th century; a major merchant developed the basic style in the 16th century. I’ve not yet experienced it but am so amazed by the creativity of the merchant. Let me reiterate: It’s just making and drinking tea. The merchant must be a genius to raise such a daily routine up to a stylized ceremony. For example, I have munchies very often but have never thought to stylize snacking. The origin of mindfulness The Japanese tea ceremony is always associated with Zen Spirit. These days, […]

    • April 13, 2021
    • October 25, 2022

    Marketing Tips: We Realize the Importance of Order Only After Losing It

    Nirvana, a god or a devil I grew up with the songs of the Beatles because my mother is a big fan of them. As writing this, I just remember her face like a demon crawling out of hell when I shot some of her LPs with my airsoft gun. When most of my elementary school classmates were obsessed with Japanese pop idols, I listened to British heavy metal, LA metal, etc. Especially if you’re from the same generation and have the same taste in music as me, I believe you would understand how big impact the band left. Their influence far-reached to not only the world music scene but also the whole society. It’s about Nirvana. Their advent is exactly destructive creation, though I personally think it was too powerful and destructive. Anti-establishment stance to the anti-establishment icon In the previous era of Nirvana, rock musicians were supposed to […]

    • April 8, 2021
    • October 25, 2022

    Marketing Tips: Let’s Get Free from the Desire to Be Free, at Least

    Free from desire for possesions? A house surrounded by a white picket fence, a SUV, two kids, a dog, and a stable job. Many people believed they were essential components of a dream life. Now, the times have changed, and the era of possession may be over. “Kids-Millennials saw their parents’ lives crumble as a result of the financial meltdown, and watched as their parents lost their life savings to the banks and Madoff’s Ponzi scheme,” said Blake Morgan, a customer-experience analyst. If she is right, Millennials don’t break free from desire for possessions but seem to resign themselves to minimalism out of fear of loss. Our ego desires everything I believe I’m a sort of minimalist, not interested in owning things so much. These days there are quite a few people who think the same way as me. Such minimalists, including me, may proudly say “I’m glad I don’t […]

    • April 5, 2021
    • October 27, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: Why Japanese Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Is Beautiful

    The most beautiful closed hotel in Japan: Hachijo Royal Hotel Rusted steel frames, faded curtains fluttering out of broken windows, tableware scattered on the floor. Ruined factories, hotels, restaurants, etc. in deserted towns are just shown, sometimes even without any narration or subtitles. Such YouTube videos are popular in Japan. In fact, I often enjoy them. “Horror is a genre in which disgust is central as an emotion,” Malcom Turvey, a British professor of film studies, said. “A lot of monsters are designed to be explicitly or implicitly disgusting.” In that sense, our interest in ruins is completely different. Japanese people see the beauty in things decaying away. I believe that is the origin of Japanese aesthetics. Japanese way to enjoy Sakura Sakura, cherry blossom is one of the Japanese national flowers (another one is chrysanthemum, for your information). We are a kind of addicted to it. As most of […]

    • April 2, 2021
    • October 14, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: Ambiguous Expressions as a Courtesy

    No absolute justice S/he once sharply criticized the government. After winning the election, s/he comes to repeat ambiguous remarks and looks like losing her/his former self. I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of change of mind. You may feel betrayed and think “I could always achieve social justice.” I didn’t mean to defend all the politicians, but believe most of them are not faithless. First of all, there’s no such thing as absolute justice or evil. Indeed, it is right to pursue the greatest happiness for the greatest number in utilitarianism, but the tyranny of the majority sometimes hurts the minority so deep that people can’t coexist after confrontation. In a sense, decent politicians are meant to be ambiguous. Ambiguity as an ancient wisdom In terms of ambiguity, I believe Japanese people are second to none in the world. Majority vote is rarely adopted in a company meeting. Even company […]