Newsletter

    • December 6, 2022
    • December 7, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: Factory Tours for School Educational Trips

    Our general impression on the sea of trees in the foot of Mt. Fuji Even if you have not been to Japan before, I believe many of you have heard the name of the highest and most beautiful mountain in Japan. Yes, it’s Mt. Fuji, or Fujiyama, but do you know that the sea of trees around Mt. Fuji is very famous as a suicide spot. As I studied the reason, I found it was because of a TV drama that was very popular in 1960s. What a big influence! Even now, when we hear the name of the sea of trees, what comes up first in our mind is suicide. Now that you’ve known that the sea of trees is a famous suicide spot, the above image may look very creepy, but it was well-known as a beautiful scenic site before the TV drama was aired. Recently, I just […]

    • November 30, 2022
    • December 5, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Japan is the Kingdom of Planetarium

    When did you last go to the planetarium? If you haven’t been there for a long time, like since you were a kid, you should go. It would be much more fun than you think. When a show starts in pitch darkness, I always get overwhelmed by a huge number of stars that look to reach to my eyes, and feel like being hurled off into space. Planetarium shows remind me that I rarely look up at the night sky. In fact, we can’t see such a sky full of stars in real life because of the city lights, though. I went to the planetarium two times this month. The first time, I fell asleep as soon as the show started. I know. It’s so embarrassing even for me to confess this after talking passionately about the attractiveness of the planetarium, but I’m the type of the person who will […]

    • November 24, 2022
    • November 25, 2022

    The Effective Use of Waste: We Donate Our Waste Leather

    Rosso Corsa. These Italian words mean the signature red color of Ferrari. When I was into Ferrari, I heard some myths about color mixing to realize Rosso Corsa. Some said the color of the primer (base coat) must be yellow to realize the passionate red, while others said it was just pink to develop the surface red brighter. It was still the dawn of the Internet, and I just enjoyed such dubious rumors. One day, I came across a book reporting the restoration of 365BB (a classic Ferrari car), and saw a picture of the signature red layer peeled off. Under Rosso Corsa was just greenish gray, the common color of primer. I learned the truth is boring. Since then, I have become interested and studied a little about car painting. As you may easily be able to imagine, the painting process of automobile factories is under automation and strict […]

    • November 16, 2022
    • November 17, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Snow and Ice Igloo Hotels in Hokkaido

    Do you know a Japanese elementary school bag? It’s common in color, design, size, and everything, a symbol of Japanese elementary school students. The bag is called “Randoseru” in Japanese which originates from the Dutch word “Ransel” meaning a bag in English. Let’s call it Ransel here in this article for your pronunciation convenience. Can you believe it? All the elementary school students use it across Japan. In my childhood like more than 30 years ago, only two colors were available: black for boys; red for girls, though any color seems to be available now as shown in the above image. A Ransel was very expensive. As I remember, it was about 500 USD at that time. However, elementary students are supposed to use it for the whole elementary school period of six years. Considering the promised quality to survive long-term super-rough usage by kids, I’m sure the price was […]

    • November 9, 2022
    • November 9, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: A Hokkaido Restaurant (Curry Rice)

    Do you think you can tell good rice from not-so-good one? If you think “Rice is just a foil to the main dish. There is not much of a difference,” that’s completely wrong. Today, I’m going to introduce a restaurant famous for good rice in Hokkaido. More than 30 years ago, when I was a kid, rice made in Hokkaido (our home prefecture) was not so good, but most of the Hokkaido people ate it because it was much cheaper. The times have changed, and proudly enough, Hokkaido rice has become a brand in Japan. Now, due to the breed improvements made repeatedly over time, I think it’s almost impossible to judge good or bad rice, but there’s only one way: Try it after rice gets cold. Really good rice is delicious even after it has cooled down. Some of you may think “What’s the point for the difference? A […]

    • November 1, 2022
    • November 3, 2022

    Business Tips: What Is the Value of NFT?

    “A diamond is forever.” I’m sure many of you have heard this before. It’s a tagline made by Mary Frances Gerety for De Beers in 1949. Grammar sticklers with poor taste like me may feel something wrong with the sentence, but it has attracted so many people and was chosen as the best tagline of the twentieth century in 1999. The reason why this tagline came up to my mind is because I’ve just started to read “Master of the Game” by Sidney Sheldon. Embarrassingly, I’ve only heard of the title but never read it. In the prologue of the story, the main character, the old lady recalled her younger days, and the people coming into her life were described as ghosts. The first ghost is Jamie McGregor, who went to South Africa in 1860s to seek his fortune, and the description of the diamond rush grabbed my interest. I’m […]

    • October 25, 2022
    • October 25, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Hokkaido Is the Kingdom of Bread

    Many good bakeries in Hokkaido “How old are you?” “How old do I look?” Humans have made progress and finally landed on the Moon in 1969, but we continue to return a stupid question to a stupid question as above. When are we matured enough? Is this only in Japan? There are still more stupid questions very often exchanging between Japanese people including me like “Are you a cat person or a dog person?” “Which do you prefer for breakfast, bread or rice?” As some people may be surprised to hear the last question, Japan is not a rice country any more. The annual purchase volume of bread and rice becomes roughly even. Especially among other prefectures, our hometown Hokkaido is famous for bread because here is the kingdom of the agricultural (wheat) and dairy (milk) industries in Japan. There are many well-known bakeries, and one of the major groups […]

    • October 18, 2022
    • October 24, 2022

    How to Deal with Methane Emissions from Cows in Dairy Farms in Hokkaido

    Japan Customs and Coast Guard are different and separate organizations, but they very often work together especially at a sea port. For that reason, when working as a Customs official, I sometimes went for a drink with Coast Guard officials. One day when we were at some Japanese-style bar and I ate mantis shrimps, one of them said with a grin “Be careful to check if there’s human hair in it. When finding a drowned body in the sea, we always see them swam the body.” After hearing that, I can’t eat mantis shrimps. What decides our likes and dislikes is genetic and environmental factors, and negative memories as above are one of the major environmental factors. I believe you, too, have had that kind of experience. We can see how unstable and sensitive our sense of likes and dislikes is. Sorry in advance if I make you feel bad, […]

    • October 11, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: How to Tell Good from Bad

    We live from feeling to feeling Do you know how many decisions you make in a day? Including trivial ones, like blowing your nose or reading this article, for example. It is said to be about 35,000. Do you believe we can make such many decisions logically and rationally? Of course, not. It’s beyond our capacity. We make most (65%) of our daily decisions based on our emotions and biases. Making matters worse (for marketers to predict consumer behavior), we decide our daily actions seven seconds before we make up our minds according to John-Dylan Haynes, an eminent neuroscientist, as I wrote before. Behavioral economics to analyze and meet customer needs Nevertheless, in classical economics, people were defined as an economic man, who acts individually according to economic rationality. Apparently, the economic man was an imaginary creature like a unicorn. Thus, marketers were forced to fight a losing battle. However, […]

    • October 4, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Don’t Underestimate Budget Hotels in Japan

    Japan will lift restrictions to foreign tourists On 11th October, the entry restrictions to Japan will be lifted. It’s the dawn of Japan! Are you ready to come to Japan? Of course, we are ready to receive you. Let me know if you’re interested in our factory tour. Today, for those who have longed to visit Japan, let me share special information about accommodation. Before getting to the main point, can I brag a bit about the Japanese hospitality? Japanese budget hotels are good in cost performance I’ve been traveling around the world and staying in many hotels, though most of them were cheap ones. In my experience, Japanese budget hotels are best in cost performance. Even in such budget hotels, I ensure you wouldn’t feel frustrated with their services, basically. They are trained by picky Japanese guests and survive the harsh market in the super-long deflation that has lasted […]