• October 29, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Wooden Ball Pit: The Use of Wood Waste for Eco-friendly Production

    A ball pit is Japanese standard playground equipment Once upon a time (like 30 years ago) when I was a kid, department stores seemed to be particularly attractive, like an amusement park. They had all sorts of toys, candies, food, everything children get engrossed in. Although it’s funny if I think back about it now, almost all the Japanese department stores had a playground on the rooftop. A ball pit was one of the most popular playground equipment back then. Even after such a playground was gone from the department stores, a ball pit still looks popular for kids. Nowadays even personal type is sold on Amazon. Today, let me introduce our wooden ball pit. The high quality wooden ball pit made by a wooden furniture maker A wooden ball pit is quite common in Japan, but our product is unique and different from others. The wooden balls are made […]

    • October 28, 2021
    • October 12, 2022

    What Is Originality? Don’t Try to Be Unique If You Want to Be Unique

    Originality is a characteristic only of a genius A student in the art class challenged his teacher, saying “it’s meaningless to learn art. Art is something to feel, and our originality may be stunted by learning. ” The teacher answered quietly, “Can you draw like Picasso? Of course not, because he is a genius, and we are not. Originality is a characteristic only of a genius. We need to learn to understand geniuses and approach their level, even just a little bit. This is the reason why we need to learn art.” What is originality? This story was told from my boss when I was in my early twenties. Although I’m embarrassed to share, I expressed my cheeky feeling to the great story: “To want to be unique” is a cliché, not unique itself. My boss answered quietly (the same as the teacher in the story) it would be human […]

    • October 26, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: Dad Sneakers Are Back! Any Story in the Design?

    To want to be unique is a desire we can’t resist The world’s top three makers of sports footwear are Nike, Adidas, and do you know what comes next? It’s Puma, though I thought it was New Balance. I like sneakers and buy at least one pair every season, but I’m getting tired of the above four makers, to be honest. “To want to be unique is a cliché, and that way of thinking itself is not unique.” This is what I knowingly wrote in the past article, but I have to admit I might like to have something different from others, subconsciously. This tendency seems to be especially true in Generation Z (people born after the late 90’s or early 2000’s). Sneakers now popular among them are “Dad sneakers.” Dad sneakers are good in design? If you don’t know what dad sneakers are like, you can find anywhere online […]

    • October 22, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: What Is the Essence of a Product?

    EV will drastically change car design The deadly battles of rebellions against authorities have just begun. It’s about the battles over EV market share. The famous ones of the rebellions are Google, Apple, and Sony; those of the authorities are Toyota, Volkswagen, and Renault. I’m excited just as an audience to watch the battles because I believe the basic design or structure of cars is highly possible to change drastically through the battles. The great change in the power source of cars finally freed engineers and designers from the problems of heat, noise, and vibration from engines. I expect the change will create electric cars with exciting design completely different from that of gas-powered cars. Fish crates don’t need to be made of wood I’m positive about this change in the car industry for the above reason, but not always positive about all the changes in any industry. For example, […]

    • October 19, 2021
    • October 14, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: Why People Sit on the Floor Not on a Chair?

    We may have overstayed on the floor It’s only 150 years since chairs were introduced in Japan, as I wrote before. When I was a kid, there was a sofa set in the living room. Most of my family members, however, often sat on the floor, leaning against the sofa. Funnily enough, my dogs slept on the sofa, instead. I’m sure it’s not a style particular only to my family. When hanging out at my friends’ houses, like playing video games together, I found they did it in the same manner. The lifestyle of living on the floor may be printed in the DNA of Japanese people. We can’t stay still even on the sofa Of course, I don’t think so. It’s not such a biological issue. Simply, the space of sofas is too small for us. We, at home on the floor, return to nature: lying face-up or -down, […]

    • October 15, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    UNIQLO Ahead of GAP, ZARA, and H&M: What Is the Strength of UNIQLO?

    Massive change UNIQLO made Most of you would have visited UNIQLO shops, I believe. At the moment, they have more than 800 shops only in Japan; about 1500 shops in more than 20 countries. I’m not UNIQLO-native. It is around after graduation from college that I visited a UNIQLO shop for the first time. I still remember it was really a surprising experience. Until then, buying clothes was a bigger event where we were required to chat with shop staff following like a shadow. I think I’m not the only one who thought it mental burden sometimes. In the post-UNIQLO era, all we have to do is to try on by ourselves and throw the stuff we like into a shopping basket. Make optimal solutions in the giant machanism I don’t mean to say it’s good or bad, but they broke the mold. Reducing price and kinds of clothes, increasing […]

    • October 12, 2021
    • October 14, 2022

    Japanese History Guide: Why Firearms Spread Quickly in the Warring States Period

    Craftsmanship commonly seen in Japanese swords and rifles In 1543, Portuguese merchants introduced rifles to Japan. They expected firearms to be one of their hot exports to Japan in the future, but soon found their plan had failed. In Japan, there were many swordsmiths highly skilled in metal working. The swordsmiths in the area that Portuguese merchants visited mastered the production of rifles within only a year or so. Making matters worse for the merchants, the manufacturing techniques soon spread to swordsmiths in other areas across Japan. The quality of Japanese rifles was superior to that of European ones. Furthermore, the total number of rifles in Japan in around 1600 (the age of Japanese civil wars) was more than 60,000. It exceeded the total number of rifles in all the European countries at that time. Samurais may have used rifles more than you can imagine. We also mastered chair making, […]

    • October 8, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A Confectionery in Hokkaido, Designed by Sou Fujimoto

    Hokkaido is the kingdom of natural resources, though… Hokkaido is a name-brand area even for Japanese people, proudly enough. If saying “I’m from Hokkaido.” outside Hokkaido, we will have a blast in chat. People will come to us and throw words like “I want to go there someday,” “I’ve been there many times,” “I really like beautiful nature and delicious food made of fresh ingredients there,” etc. In fact, Hokkaido is fully surrounded by the sea, and you can enjoy a fresh seafood. In addition, there are many dairy farms, and dairy products are good as well. People are glad to receive those marine or dairy products, but we can’t help but hesitate to bring them as a gift in business settings. To be honest, the package design of those products is often not very good. The problem of Hokkaido souvenirs is in the design quality of their package In […]

    • October 5, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A New Sustainable Hotel in Sapporo, Hokkaido

    We went all over the world, staying at cheap hotels I went all over the world (for business, though) together with my boss (current chairman) before the COVID. It was common for us to visit multiple countries at a time. This may sound gorgeous, but it was tough. Making matters worse, I always chose cheap hotels to contain costs. In some hotels, we felt like we might as well sleep in a tent outside. My boss (then president) often complained “Please sell more furniture, make more money, and let me stay at better hotels.” This year, he resigned from the president position, and we will never go on overseas business trips together. I feel sorry I couldn’t fulfill his wish in the end, though I always enjoyed the penniless trips with him. New eco-friendly hotel in Sapporo, Royal Park Canvas Last week, the chairman came to my desk and talked […]

    • October 1, 2021
    • September 30, 2022

    What Is a Company Mission? Now Is the Time to Re-Define Our Business

    The reason why I don’t use food delivery service Uber Eats, Wolt, Foodpanda, etc. Food delivery businesses appear to be prosperous everywhere in the world. In addition, many restaurants have started to-go service, and accordingly, many people can enjoy professional meals at home. Have you ever tried such food delivery services or took out food? Me? Never. The repeated activity restrictions during the COVID have reduced the opportunity of eating out, but I don’t feel I need such services. Just the other day, I encountered an article about a restaurant that stopped delivery and to-go service. The article made me realize why I don’t use the food delivery services. Filling my stomach is not the main purpose to eat out “Our mission is providing a fun and satisfying experience, not just food.” The restaurant directors explained their decision like this. I think the reason is similar to the concept of […]