MONTH

2021年9月

    • September 28, 2021

    Something in Common in Artisan Culture of Italy and Japan

    The general image of the Italian and Japanese people contrasts What would you do if the world ends tomorrow? An Italian would answer “I would spend the day with a lover.” A Japanese would say “I have to finish my work quickly.” This is a popular ethnic joke, and even most Japanese people would nod in agreement at the answers. The general image of Italian people is easy-going; that of Japanese people is too serious. Their general images sharply contrast like this, but they have something in common, funnily enough. Italian artisans are respected; Japanese ones not… Italy and Japan are countries of artisans (artigiani/artigiane in Italian). Italian artisans receive preferential treatment from the government, while Japanese government is driving artisans into extinction sadly, though. Only in Japan among OECD countries, Real Wage Index has been declining for more than 20 years. The government blames that on small businesses where […]

    • September 24, 2021

    It’s a Convenient Truth: Logging for Wooden Furniture Is Eco-Friendly

    More choices make us less happy I can always make prompt decisions. This is one of the few things I’m proud of in my abilities. The trick is always trying to narrow down choices. Some people (who love fashion, for example) may say “We enjoy matching outfits!” but it’s a rare example. As a psychologist, Barry Schwartz insists in his book “The Paradox of Choice,” more choices make us feel less happy for the three reasons. A sense of helplessness about not being able to make decisions; a bigger doubt in the correctness of choices; too high expectation for something perfectly matching the taste. Apparently, “more is less” is the truth of life. Now we have too many clothes The reason why I use fashion in the above example is today’s topic is news from apparel industry. For your reference, the apparel industry is called the environmental pollution industry second […]

    • September 21, 2021

    The Original Japanese Landscape Is Being Lost

    Bears start to live in deserted villages in Hokkaido This year, riverbeds and big parks with forests were often closed in our hometown. It was not because of the COVID but because of bears. There are two kinds of bears in Japan: brown bears and black bears. Brown bears are a related species of grizzly bears. They are much bigger than black bears, and inhabit only here Hokkaido in Japan. Making matters worse, our hometown is surrounded by mountains, and many rivers are stretching inside. Bears come out of the mountains and move freely along the rivers. It’s not so unusual, but I think this year is abnormal. You may guess it is because of a food shortage due to the destruction of nature, but it is not. Some experts say it is because of increasing deserted villages. Villages worked as a buffer zone Japan is small in area, and […]

    • September 16, 2021

    Are You Sure You Can Explain Who You Are?

    We don’t know exactly what we want A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Steve Jobs left the words. Sometimes, making matters more complicated, people say the opposite of what they want. Even McDonald’s failed The well-known example of behavioral economics is “Salad dish set launched by McDonald’s Japan in 2006.” The product development team of McDonald’s Japan was not smug, not acting arbitrarily. They just developed the epic-fail menu based on questionnaire results asking for healthy salad and saying no to junk food. Ironically, Quarter Pounder series (huge size burgers) debuted in 2008 and were a big hit. Product-out may not be that bad People don’t know exactly what they want. This would be the reason why we can never accurately forecast the market. It is always too chaotic because of human irrational behaviors. […]

    • September 14, 2021

    This Is What Devides Good Furniture from Bad

    Talent or hard work Do you believe in talent or hard work? This is the topic that has been debated since the beginning of history. I know I’m a little exaggerating, though. Making the topic even more complicated, some people say “Hard work is a talent itself.” One day, I found an interesting article related to this issue. Do you know the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment (SME)? SME is just observing children with marshmallows to see their self-control or delayed gratification under various conditions. The data were later used in many follow-up longitudinal studies. After seeing the data, make many people come to believe that the power of self-control is the key to success, like better SAT scores, keeping in better shape, etc. Stanford Marshmallow Experiment was biased Whether or not hard work is a talent itself. This is not a subject to debate here, but it’s a plain fact that […]

    • September 10, 2021

    Hokkaido Sweets, Good for a Gift

    Trick-or-treating in Hokkaido Did you know that the history of trick-or-treating at Halloween in North America was not so long? It started about in 1930, while Halloween itself has a long history of more than 2000 years. As you may know that, it’s just recently that Halloween became widely known in Japan. The Halloween parade in Tokyo Disney Land has started since 1997, and it is said to trigger the boom. I don’t mean to brag, but we, Hokkaido people, are forerunners about trick-or-treating. Although it’s not related to Halloween, trick-or-treating is a summer tradition in Hokkaido since the late 1800s. Even now, in August (at the end of short summer in Hokkaido), you can hear kids singing “Give us candles, give us candles” from somewhere at neighbors’ doors. I don’t know why that is, but we are supposed to say “candles” not “candies.” People moving from the outside of […]

    • September 7, 2021

    Do You Know What Are Essential for Our Life?

    What are things other than basics of life? One of the biggest reasons why I was back to my hometown is a summer music festival held in Hokkaido. Nevertheless, this summer is ending without the fest due to the COVID, the same as last year. I don’t intend to complain about it. I’m just worried about people working in the entertainment industry. They are not only musicians but also sound mixers, light controllers, stage arrangers, etc. in the case of music fests. Their field is more like the world of artisans, different from what many people imagine. It’s very difficult to get back lost techniques. During the COVID pandemic, the present Japanese government leaves us to our fate in the name of self-help. Among other things, it is cruel especially to the entertainment industry. Our government seems to regard things other than basics of life as unnecessary. Difference in attitude […]

    • September 3, 2021

    Do You Know the Truth of Average?

    What is average? AI can create virtual humans that look realistic. It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between real and virtual actors in movies, for example. As this is a well-known trick, to make the faces of virtual humans good-looking or look like something considered to be good-looking, AI calculates out the average faces of many real people. We seem to judge average faces as good-looking. I think It’s natural because we have a good feeling about something familiar. I have known this mentality of human beings for a long time, but a doubt had been left in my mind as a long-standing mystery. It’s a simple question: can you believe that the good-looking icons such as Cleopatra and Don Juan are average? There’s no average, as a matter of fact One book saved me from the edge of the abyss. The title is “The End of Average” written […]