• September 21, 2020
    • October 14, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: How to Co-exist with Nature in Japan

    Necessity is the mother of geographical characteristics As you can see it in the above left image, Japan is a country of backward parking. Even speeding drivers follow the rule. Do you know why that is? Some people outside Japan may think there’s no difference between forward and backward parking. It may look like putting off trouble later or not, but actually there’s a big difference. In the first place, if it’s just a matter of personal preference, the ratio should be nearly fifty-fifty. The fact is very simple. It’s easier to park backward in a small country like Japan. I don’t explain here the details why backward parking is easier in a small area, but it is clear from the fact that forklift trucks required to turn in a small radius are rear-wheel steering. Japan is a forest country I may have been misleading you in the above paragraph. […]

    • September 2, 2020
    • January 27, 2023

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: What You Should Be Careful About in Kyoto

    Kyoto language is too difficult even for most of the Japanese people As you know, most Japanese people can’t speak English very well. Looking on the bright side, Japan is basically a monolingual country, and you can communicate only in Japanese anywhere in Japan. Mind you, there’s one exception: It’s Kyoto. It’s the ancient capital of Japan. No offense if you are a big fan of Kyoto, but Kyoto people are often said to be snobbish and behave like still believing Kyoto is the center of Japan. It’s just an aside, but I think it’s funny (interesting) that Kyoto and Hokkaido are always competing for the first place in the popularity ranking of Japan 47 prefectures, though their characters are completely different. Kyoto is oldest; Hokkaido is newest. For your information, Hokkaido has always defeated Kyoto and maintained the first place in the popularity ranking for these 14 years. What […]

    • August 31, 2020
    • September 21, 2022

    Over-Engineering Problems: Most of the Japanese Companies Go Too Far

    Using a chainsaw to cut butter The above words are a wise saying by Barry Commoner, an American biologist, to express the inefficiency of nuclear power generation. By the way, this topic is not about energy policies; don’t worry. I interpret the point of his saying is adequacy rather than efficiency. In terms of adequacy, our production may have a problem. I think it would be quality that best features our products. Sometimes we have faced requests or advice, like “It’d be better to sacrifice quality a little bit to save costs.” Indeed, our production sometimes goes excessive: making a flush surface even in out-of-sight parts, for example. We are always too serious to be sloppy and may have to be a little more permissive. For example, the only 20-second delay of a train is subject to apology here in Japan, and we’re surprised to see it is reported overseas […]

    • August 24, 2020
    • October 21, 2022

    Marketing Tips: “Made in Japan” Back with the Weaker Yen

    The 30-year long deflation in Japan Last year, I went to Germany, China, US, India, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan. Such many business trips overseas help me see Japan more clearly. One of the biggest discoveries I recently had about Japan is “the price of things is comparably cheaper.” Let me show you the evidence. Japan is the third biggest country in GDP but ranked 23rd in the World Big Mac Price Ranking (Jan 2019). MacDonald’s Japan might make bigger efforts, but it’s true that we have many other choices for lunch only for 5 dollars here in Japan.   Japanese people get too used to no price rise The huge bubble burst in 1991, and the Japanese economy completely collapsed. The era after the bubble burst was once called “Lost two decades” but now becomes “three decades”. No worries. I don’t mean to detail […]

    • June 1, 2020
    • December 24, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: How to Make a Wooden Chair #1

    The long-selling chair was born unexpectedly This is a story about one of our long-selling chairs, of which name is “Golfer.” You will find it in the line from the rear leg to the backrest. The back part of the chair frame looks like a golf club when it’s seen from the side. That is the reason why the chair was named Golfer. Funnily enough, the design of our long-selling chair came from a rough sketch drawn by a new girl in the factory. A new face inspired the veteran craftsman In the very early days of the company, the management always seeked the ideas and designs of new products from the staff members. One day, a rough sketch caught the attention of our founder and reminded him of his training period. When studying furniture manufacturing in Germany, he saw the chair at a furniture shop. It was one of […]