Newsletter

    • 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
    • January 14, 2023

    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. Now, 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 […]

    • October 18, 2022
    • January 27, 2023

    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 to me 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 […]

    • 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 […]

    • September 28, 2022
    • October 13, 2022

    Japan Travel in the Know: Magnificent View We’ll Want to See before We Die

    The winter in Hokkaido is beautiful but too long and harsh A hometown is a place to long for from a distance, not to actually live in. This is the English translation of a Japanese famous proverb that often crosses my mind especially around this season. After graduation from college, I had been outside my hometown (Asahikawa, Hokkaido) for about 15 years. Indeed, for a while after coming back, I was just glad to escape from the crazy summer heat and humid climate of the main island of Japan, but now I have been fed up with the long, cold, and snowy winter in my hometown. I know this is man’s foolish nature, like crying for the moon, but the winter in Hokkaido is so long and harsh. The autumn in Hokkaido is short but beautiful Due to the long winter, the autumn in Hokkaido is relatively short but very […]

    • September 21, 2022
    • January 27, 2023

    Japan Travel in the Know: What You Need to Know before Eating Salmon Roe in Hokkaido

    Hokkaido is the home of salmon fishing in Japan I’ve been wanting to do fly fishing since I watched the movie “A River Runs Through It.” Unfortunately, I hardly remember any of the content, but the fishing scenes left a strong impression on me. A fishing rod whipping to and fro smoothly, a line sparkling by reflecting the sun’s light and describing an arc in the air, etc. It’s beautiful and completely different from what I always do. It’s ordinary bait fishing: just wandering along rivers and casting bait. Why don’t I do fly fishing? That’s because bait fishing is easier and can catch more fish. In the past article, I knowingly quoted Hemingway “When you can’t catch fish, think it gave you time to think about life.” To tell the truth, I hate to get skunked (go home empty-handed). Today, I’m introducing the charm of Hokkaido through the story […]

    • September 13, 2022
    • December 16, 2022

    The Japanese Housing Market: How to Survive in a Small House in Japan

    The greater also serves for the lesser? In the US, the price of homes still increases, while the Fed (FRB) is fighting inflation. In other words, even though the interest of home loans is going up, housing supply is still short in the market. Every time I see the news, I can’t help thinking from my point of view as a Japanese, “Isn’t the size of American homes too big? The supply of homes could be increased more easily by making them smaller.” As I believe it’s a well-known fact, the average size of Japanese homes is small. The floor space per capita is only 36 sqm (according to the stats about 20 years ago, though), while that of the US is 65 sqm! In the infamous EU memorandum leaked to the press in 1979, Japanese houses were harshly depicted as “little more than rabbit hutches,” and many Japanese people […]

    • September 6, 2022
    • December 6, 2022

    Marketing Tips: How to Make a Paradigm Shift and Get Over the Ups and Downs

    We can learn a lot about marketing tips in museums I don’t understand art, but I like to go to museums, maybe because I enjoy trying mysteries that can never be solved by me. In Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum until this July, there had been a special exhibition: “The Greats, beauty masters from Scottish National Gallery.” Now, the exhibition is held in Kobe for your reference, by the way. It was so interesting and informative. Let me share the two big lessons I learned in the exhibition. Good example to prove the importance of naming strategies What impressed me most among the paintings in the exhibition is “Sweetest eyes were ever seen” by Sir John Everett Millais. To tell the truth, I’m not so impressed by the painting itself. What rouses my interest is its title. I always use a museum-guidance service. According to the guidance, the painting was first […]

    • August 31, 2022
    • January 7, 2023

    Human Comedy in the White Stitches of Maison Margiela

    Our greedy appetite for attention Is it the same in your countries? Some people put stickers of the names of their favorite singers or bands on their cars. I didn’t mean to criticize at all, but that looks a little funny and reminds me of the time just before the entry of elementary school. It’s a big event for Japanese kids. Parents buy all kinds of stationary, and a lot of textbooks are provided by the government. At this point, kids receive a harsh welcome from a social system. They are required to put their name and class number to all of the items, even to each of pencils. For the same reason, clothing items and bags printed with brand names (in most cases, they’re founding designer names) look funny to me. If someone wears a T-shirt printed with “Issey Miyake” for example, I’ll want to say a joke to […]