• January 16, 2023
    • January 27, 2023

    Marketing Tips: Good Design Can Make Fashion and Comfort Coexist

    What did you get for yourself in this year-end shopping season? I bought Dr. Martens boots, though just before starting the online shopping, I was in two minds: Timberland or Danner. Why did I take the unexpected third option? It’s because at that moment, I saw the news of the death of Dame Vivienne Westwood. I’m not a big fan of her brand or punk fashion, though. If I had to explain, my purchase behavior would be caused by a word association game: Vivienne Westwood—The Queen of Punk—Dr. Martens. How elusive the spending habits of consumers are! I’m depressed as a marketer about the complexity of consumer buying sentiment as above, but that’s not the point I want to discuss here. Once the boots were delivered, I went out putting on them and found something wrong. Now, here in Hokkaido, all the roads are fully covered with snow and ice. […]

    • January 11, 2023
    • January 27, 2023

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: The Exchange of New Year’s Cards Going Outdated

    Rough and ready or slow and elaborate? Be the first penguin, an innovator, at least an early adopter, or whatever. I hope most of you no longer worship such courage or recklessness. When doing my MBA, I had very often seen unreserved admiration for best practices by courageous or reckless leaders, but now I think it’s too naïve. In fact, the first penguins may be victims as a result of jostling each other on the edge of the ice. They may be able to get more fish but are highly likely to be killed by seals or killer whales. We have to remember there are thousands of times more untold failures behind one success. I know we have received a lot of benefit from innovation mostly made by courageous or reckless decision-makers, but sometimes I can’t help feeling that the value of being the first penguin is overestimated because of […]

    • December 21, 2022
    • January 14, 2023

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: We Would Be Caught Dead Eating Rice Cakes, Mochi

    Rice cakes: It’s called “mochi” in Japanese, made by pounding rice. Have you ever eaten mochi? If yes and you’re still alive, you’re blessed. Do you know how many people have lost their lives by choking on mochi in Japan? It’s 300 averagely every year. We probably should prohibit or at least impose a heavy tax on mochi like narcotics and alcohol, but there has been no such momentum so far. I’m afraid people even in the center of power seem to be captives of its taste. It is found from remains that Japanese people already started to eat mochi in 660 BC, at the time of the founding of the country. Mochi was an offering food to gods in ancient cultures, and is still considered to be a food for a special day. Risk-addicted people like me eat it regularly against the risk of death by suffocation, but basically […]

    • December 12, 2022
    • January 27, 2023

    Why Nature Loves Hexagons: Snowflakes, Hexagonal Flowers Blooming in Hokkaido

    Human aging starts from emotion. I heard it was common knowledge especially among psychiatrists. It’s not only about the loss of a grip on our emotions. With the aging of the forebrain, we will lose emotion-driven qualities such as willingness, self-motivation, creativity, etc. Consequently, we will avoid trying new things and just want to maintain the status quo. This kind of life in a rut will further reduce our brain function and age us more. Because of this strong negative spiral, many psychiatrists say human aging starts from emotion or the forebrain responsible for emotion. In that sense, keeping this blog is very good for my anti-aging. In order to find topics for the blog, I always have to keep an eye open for all kinds of information. In most cases, the blog articles start from my little interest, but in order to finish them up at a certain level, […]

    • 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 […]

    • 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 […]

    • 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 […]

    • April 19, 2021
    • December 24, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: The Core Meaning of Japanese Zen

    Sado, the 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. Let me reiterate: It’s just making and drinking tea. The merchant 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 The Japanese tea ceremony is always associated with Zen Spirit. These days, […]