CATEGORY

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    • September 13, 2022
    • October 1, 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
    • October 4, 2022

    The Effective Marketing Tips: 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 […]

    • October 8, 2021
    • October 4, 2022

    Japan Travel Tips: A Confectionery in Hokkaido, Interior-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 […]

    • April 19, 2021
    • August 18, 2022

    What is the Core Meaning of Japanese Zen?

    Japanese tea ceremony Have you ever experienced a Japanese tea ceremony? The most notable feature is its beauty of style. In a nutshell, it’s just a ceremony where a host makes matcha green tea and guests drink it. What makes the ceremony unique is it prescribes every single move of making and drinking tea. As far as I know, it already started in the 15th century; a major merchant developed the basic style in the 16th century. I’ve not yet experienced it but am so amazed by the creativity of the merchant. It’s just making and drinking tea. He must be a genius to raise such a daily routine up to a stylized ceremony. For example, I have munchies very often but have never thought to stylize snacking. The origin of mindfulness Japanese tea ceremony is always associated with Zen Spirit. These days, Zen Spirit seems to get popular as […]

    • April 2, 2021
    • August 18, 2022

    Japanese Ambiguity as a Courtesy

    No absolute justice S/he once sharply criticized the government. After winning the election, s/he comes to repeat ambiguous remarks and looks like losing her/his former self. I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of change of mind. You may feel betrayed and think “I could always achieve social justice.” I didn’t mean to defend all the politicians, but believe most of them are not faithless. First of all, there’s no such thing as absolute justice or evil. Indeed, it is right to pursue the greatest happiness for the greatest number in utilitarianism, but the tyranny of the majority sometimes hurts the minority so deep that people can’t coexist after confrontation. In a sense, decent politicians are meant to be ambiguous. Ambiguity as an ancient wisdom In terms of ambiguity, I believe Japanese people are second to none in the world. Majority vote is rarely adopted in a company meeting. Even company […]

    • March 29, 2021
    • September 14, 2022

    How Godzilla Was Created (Nissan GT-R)

    Nostalgia for monster cars Nissan GT-R (R32), Mercedes Benz 500E. These monster cars were born in around the same time (around 1990). When I was a teenager, my friend’s father owned them both, and they sometimes gave me a drive. I will never forget the impression I had when riding in the cars for the first time. The start-dash of GT-R was just violent, though it was not normal but souped-up to more than 700 HP. I felt like being in a vault when riding in 500E. As it may sound like nostalgia from an old-timer, I don’t think such legendary cars will never be made again. In 90’s, car makers could spend more budget on product development, and legal restrictions (crash safety, environmental conservation, etc) were much less. I know social conditions have changed a lot since then, but the root of the reason why I’m dissatisfied lies somewhere […]

    • March 25, 2021
    • September 26, 2022

    How to Build Pyramids: The Revelation of the Pyramids

    The pyramid construction is a public project to create employment It only took 20 years to make the pyramid of King Khufu by using many slaves. Is there anyone who still believes all this? Some decades ago, the Japanese biggest construction company (Obayashi Corporation) seriously calculated and estimated the construction period. Even if they tried with all their resources without limitation, it would take 5 years! I always thought the above fake legend of the pyramid construction would be too short time for people from about 4500 years ago. Think about it for a second. Don’t you think pyramids are too high-quality for low-morale workforces like slaves without heavy machines? In my opinion, the construction of the pyramids would be a super-long-term public project to create employment and to enhance the national prestige. In fact, it’s not my own unique view but becomes one of the common theories these days, […]

    • March 16, 2021
    • September 22, 2022

    Chairs Upholstered with Japan Blue Jeans (Okayama denim)

    Japanese natural indigo Indigo is a dye extracted from a plant. As Jeans may be a synonym for indigo, it was once used to dye fabric all over the world, not only in Japan. You may think most of the jeans are still dyed in indigo blue. Nowadays, in most cases, it’s an artificial dye because natural indigo is difficult to handle. It requires a delicate adjustment according to the day’s temperature, moisture, etc. In exchange for the difficulty, the natural indigo of Japan provides more beautiful and deeper coloring. Japanese natural indigo has a long history Japan blue. Some of you may have heard this color name because it’s the signature color of the Tokyo Olympic Games. As having looked up the origin of the name, I’ve found it is Robert William Atkinson, a British chemist who named it. The Japanese government invited him to Japan in 1875. He […]

    • March 4, 2021
    • September 26, 2022

    How to Run Small Businesses in Japan: Kaizen in Japanese Companies

    Small and medium enterprises are lower in productivity? In Japan, most of the small and medium enterprises (SME) like us may disappear in the near future. The SME Basic Act defines SME are companies with a capital of less than 300 million JPY or with the number of employees less than 300. According to the definition, 99.7% of the companies in Japan are categorized in SME. Soon after the change of government last year, the current prime minister organized an advisory board, and has implemented economic policies based on the advice of the board. The board members always treat SME like an enemy. They claim SME are the main cause of low productivity, though I strongly object to it. The cause and effect are reversed They always bring up a gap in wages in order to substantiate the low productivity of SME. I admit there’s a wage gap by company […]

    • March 1, 2021
    • September 26, 2022

    The Uniqueness of Japanese Chopsticks: How Japanese Chopstics Are Different

    Japanese chopsticks are unique One of the difficulties I have to face when going abroad is table manners. Among other things, it’s difficult for me to eat without chopsticks. How can you eat a lettuce salad only with a fork? I’m always frightened, worried if lettuce leaves may flip and dressing may splatter on my shirt. Even if it’s in Asia, things are still difficult. I can’t hold noodles with Korean chopsticks, for example. By the time I finish a noodle dish in Korea, my shirt will have a psychedelic pattern. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not so bad at using chopsticks. I feel invincible when I use my chopsticks. Japanese chopsticks are different in shape, material, etc. from those used in other countries in Asia. Fingers, a spoon, or chopsticks The world can be divided into three regions by table manners: 40% of people eat by fingers; 30% by […]