• August 31, 2021
    • November 16, 2022

    Where to Visit in Hokkaido: Why Is Sapporo the Most Harsh Market in Japan?

    Hokkaido is more popular than Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan Conde Nast Traveler, one of the world’s most prestigious travel magazine announces every year the ranking of things related to travel. The ranking is based on the vote of the readers, more than 6 million. It was Tokyo that had won the first place in the ranking of the Best Cities in the World (10 Best Big Cities) for three years straight from 2017 to 2019. In 2020, Tokyo lost the first position to Kyoto, though. I guess the result would not be so surprising especially for people who have been to Japan. They saw the two cities were always packed with tourists from overseas. This fact, however, may be a little surprising to us because Hokkaido (where we’re headquartered) is more popular with the Japanese people. We love Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido Let me introduce another interesting ranking. […]

    • August 27, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: We Behave Unconsciously but Always Look for a Reason

    A local amusement park is seeing its last days I often go to a hot spring place in a nearby town. On the way, there’s a collapsing amusement park “Canadian World.” I have a dim memory of seeing its TV commercials when I was a kid, but I’ve never been there. It must not be only me who wondered what this small local city has to do with Canada? According to my research, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery is the theme of the park. The park re-created the streetscape of Prince Edward Island so faithfully that the architectural plan was used when the original building of Green Gables caught fire in 1997. In spite of the high degree of completion, the park has never gained popularity and is going to collapse quietly now. We always want to understand why it’s there Why was the theme Anne of […]

    • August 23, 2021
    • December 29, 2022

    Marketing Tips: Better to Be Brisk and Slapdash (Coke VS Pepsi)

    New Coke, the greatest failure of the century in marketing Coke VS Pepsi, this was a very important issue when I was a kid with a limited budget. In the early 1980’s PepsiCo launched a big marketing offensive, like aggressive comparative advertising, using Michael Jackson for advertising, etc. As that seemed to work well, I remember many forward kids switched from Coke to Pepsi in Japan. In 1985, in order to strike a blow back, Coca-Cola launched a long-awaited product after careful preliminary market research. It was a “New Coke” which is later judged to be the stuff of legend in the marketing field as the greatest failure of the century. Why did the failure happen? Was that a failure, to begin with? New Coke can be judged as a big success On 23rd April 1985, Coca-Cola launched New Coke and withdrew the old Coke from store shelves. As aresult, […]

    • August 20, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: Teamwork Rather than Individual Work

    Alexander the Great, my hero Japanese people really seem to like to pick up the top three of various categories, such as the world’s three major night views. They are Hong Kong, Monaco, and Nagasaki, by the way. If it’s about architects, the top three are said to be Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier. It seems we really like the number “three.” Today, what I want to raise a question about is the three major heroes in the history. It is believed in Japan that they are Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, and Napoleone di Buonaparte. Don’t you think this is funny? Why is Alexander the Great not on the roster? What is the secret of his strength? His life and adventure are full of excitement. I know he is sometimes criticized as a tyrant. Simply speaking, what he did is taking over the world […]

    • August 17, 2021
    • December 24, 2022

    Human Subtlety Will Never Devise an Invention More Beautiful, More Simple, or More Direct

    A genius can learn from any small matters When you can’t catch fish, think it gave you time to think about life. This quote is believed in Japan to be made by Ernest Hemingway. As far as I searched, however, the author seems to be unknown in fact. Does anybody know whose quote this is? Anyway, I often go fishing in the river but am not a serious angler. In most cases, telling the above quote to myself, I just stand by the river, though being a little frustrated deep down inside about getting skunked. One day, when I daydreamed like that, another genius also came up in my mind. It’s Leonardo da Vinci. He was interested in and studied the flow of the river, and now is revered as a pioneer of fluid mechanics. Needless to say, he is completely different from me blankly staring at the river surface. […]

    • August 10, 2021
    • October 12, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: Respect for Craftsmanship Seen in Kendo

    Kendo is not a sport The Tokyo Olympics 2020 was over. Japan finished in third place on the medal table, mainly due to the medal rush in Judo, Japan’s forte. Shohei Ohno, winning a gold medal in the 73 kg competition of Judo in this Olympics, has reminded me of the fact that Judo was not a sport before. He never raises his fist or even smiles after winning matches to show his respect and consideration to opponents. Do you know there’s another Japanese traditional martial art? It’s Kendo where people fight using bamboo swords. The number of Kendo players is much more than that of Judo in Japan, but it doesn’t become an Olympic sport. It is said that All Japan Kendo Federation is basically against it because they believe Kendo is not a sport but a way of life. Kendo is a way of life Another barrier that […]

    • July 30, 2021
    • October 13, 2022

    Marketing Tips: A Stragety for the Weak to Compete Against Discount Giants

    How to define non-essential things I went to the seaside to fish last week, passing by many electric signboards on the road saying “Let’s avoid non-essential outings!” I know fishing is definitely thought to be a non-essential activity. As I may sound like trying to justify myself, let me say. What would be left in us if all the non-essential activities are taken away? Only by eating, excreting, and sleeping, we can keep our hearts beating, but I think we will be dead inside. Work seems to be believed to be essential, but actually is essential only for each of us workers to make a living. As we’ve seen so far, the world kept moving around even when most of us stayed at home. What makes us human is non-essential things, I believe. IKEA, NITORI, they are essential IKEA is the biggest furniture company in the world, though it has […]

    • July 6, 2021
    • October 14, 2022

    Japanese Working Culture: What Is Life in a Humane Manner?

    The COVID, the one-way time machine The COVID is sometimes called “a time machine.” Remote work is a good example. I think most of the companies at least in Japan just pretended to take a positive attitude but actually were not so serious about it before the COVID. In the peak season of 2020, however, the proportion of companies adopting remote work exceeded 50%. For better or worse, the time seems to change quickly and greatly due to the COVID. Relationships become exclusive Do you think things will go back to the way we used to be? I don’t think so especially about the changes due to the COVID. Many people have tasted the comfort to avoid personal relationship problems. Due to the rapid rise of the online communication, we can easily communicate with people who we like and also avoid communication with people who we dislike. I think this […]

    • July 1, 2021
    • October 7, 2022

    Penfield Homunculus: How Do We Sense the World?

    Developing precise body control is not easy Move your right hand up and down while moving your left hand back and forth. You must be a genius of body control if you can do this smoothly and easily. To the guests of our factory tour, I always ask to do this, but I’ve never seen anyone who can do it right. Our craftspeople move like this when surface-finishing a table top board with a wide belt sander. Precise body control makes a smooth surface A wide belt sander is a machine rotating a sanding belt on a platform that can slide back and forth. The craftspeople press the sanding belt to a table top board with their right hand while moving back and forth with their left hand the platform on which the table top board is placed. The sanding power is strong. If you apply too much pressure or […]

    • June 29, 2021
    • October 25, 2022

    Marketing Tips: Be the First Penguin! Only Passion Drives the World Forward

    Beyond the logic I repeatedly and knowingly tell my assistants to think logically at work. On the other hand, I must admit the world filled with believers in logical thinking like me must be super boring. In Japan these days, the word, EBPM, becomes popular: the abbreviation for “evidence-based policy making.” From my experience of working as a government official, I can understand it could be the principles of behavior for government agencies for accurate budgeting. Negative effects, however, may be larger to improve people’s lives. First penguins are not logical Think about it. Bill Gates (Microsoft), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Jeff Bezos (Amazon)—these people couldn’t have had firm evidence for their business because they developed what had not existed yet. In order to drive the world forward, EBPM is not enough or even an obstacle, and on the contrary, we need human pathos or passion. Another good example would be […]