• February 4, 2022
    • August 2, 2022

    No Two Wood Pieces Are Alike; So, They Are Beautiful

    Can you judge apples by appearances? Apples are the most popular seasonal fruit in Japan in winter. You can see a lot of them piling up everywhere. I don’t know whether it’s because my wife really likes them or just because they are cheap in this season, though. Anyway, she always goes straight to an apple stand in any supermarkets. Her way of selecting apples looks like some magic ritual. With a serious look on her face, checking them from every angle, mumbling something, she carefully picks out the ones she thinks best. That’s why I eat apples a lot these days. To be honest, I can’t see any big difference in taste between what she and I chose. Even careful selection is no guarantee It is said that about 30% of agricultural output is thrown away as a non-standard product in Japan. Now the sugar level of some fruits […]

    • February 2, 2021
    • August 2, 2022

    We Need Stories

    Time exists by story memory technique As I wrote before, the definition of “time” is not completely settled in physics and philosophy. To be more precise, the existence of time is often an obstacle to prove the laws of physics. Apparently, it is doubtful in physics. Recently, I read an article by a neuroscientist. It said we felt the existence of time because we memorize as stories all sorts of things that happen in our lives. The story memory technique itself has long been known. The most famous one would be the memory palace method. Although I couldn’t understand even a half of the article, unfortunately, it has reinforced one of my beliefs: we need stories to live. Significant objects I suppose the famous marketing research “Significant Objects” is an example to show an aspect related to this human nature. It’s an experiment devised by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn […]

    • January 26, 2021
    • August 2, 2022

    Are You Sure You’re Free from Confirmation Bias?

    There is no fate According to my speculation, most of us feel a sense of destiny when we decide to buy something, especially when it’s big-ticket items such as houses and cars. We may happen to see some articles saying “Now is the best time to buy!” Or we may remember our horoscopes we saw in some magazine. No offense, but there’s no such destiny in our buying behavior. It’s confirmation bias. Me? Of course, always biased, the same as before. I have been trading stocks for years. In most cases when I place orders, I feel like I found secret signs that only a genius can see. Guess what happened next? I stopped facing the reality (the decreasing balance of my brokerage account). Be wary of confirmation bias. Swallow your pride Destiny doesn’t guide us to significant information. We always seek information supporting our decision. As Caesar said, men […]

    • January 18, 2021
    • August 2, 2022

    Nothing to Be Ashamed of Being Ordinary

    Status quo bias Have you ever experienced the Japanese commuter rush in the morning? No? Lucky you. While living in Tokyo, I had endured the cruel treatment for more than three years. On the platform of any station in Japan, door positions are marked up. Seeing long queues at the marks on the platform, commuters sigh at the thought of a great trip ahead. Strangely enough, people in respective morning commute queues were always almost the same. Me? Yes, always in the same queue without a rational reason. I don’t think other people also would have had a particular reason. Every morning, the usual faces in my queue reminded me that I was firmly caught up in the status quo bias. It seems human beings really dislike changes. Today, I didn’t mean to criticize from a height, saying “You should change,” but try to defend the human nature somehow. The […]

    • January 14, 2021
    • August 2, 2022

    Now Is the Age of Just-Looking Customers

    b8ta The epoch-making business was born in the Silicon Valley in 2015. It’s b8ta, and finally arrived in Tokyo, Japan last year. Let me explain their business model in very short. The shop of b8ta is divided into some compartments. Brands display their products at the compartments by paying a certain amount of money to b8ta. The monthly fixed rate includes everything, like the costs of staff, inventory management, logistics support, POS, etc. The highlight of their system is detailed marketing data provided to brands. The number of customers stopping at a product, how long a customer picked up a product, not to mention demographic data. Many latest sensing devices watch all the customer responses, and b8ta provides those data to brands. This concept of their business impressed me most. The main purpose of b8ta shops is not to sell products. They call their business as RaaS (Retail as a […]

    • September 16, 2020
    • August 2, 2022

    Big Brother Is Always Watching You in Japan

    Japanese joke On a ship with people from various countries, you’re the first to notice the ship is sinking. What to say to make the people escape and jump in the water? To American people: “Jump, and you’ll be a hero!” To British people: “A true gentleman/lady would jump.” To French people: “Do not jump!” To German people: “The regulations say we must jump.” To Japanese people: “Everybody else has already jumped.” This is a very famous joke in Japan. I think it expresses one of the Japanese characteristics very well. In most junior-high and high schools, teachers tell us to behave the same as everybody else. At home, parents scold their kids, saying “No one would do something like that!” The only exception is when they beg for the same things as their friends have. If kids say “I want a new bicycle. My friend had one recently,” their […]

    • August 19, 2020
    • August 2, 2022

    This is How the Internet Narrows Your Mind

      The bounds of human imagination Do you think you can create an imaginary creature which is completely different from existing ones in this world? A unicorn looks like a subspecies of horse; a dragon is just a big lizard with wings. I think this question well expresses the bounds of human imagination. It’s very difficult or almost impossible for us even to imagine something we’ve never known. Today’s topic is a trap we’re likely to encounter in this information overload era. When I was a college student, it always took time to write essays because I had to struggle with many books for evidence. Now, Google can make surveillance more quickly and accurately. It’s definitely true we can easily get much more information on the internet, but here is a trap we need to watch out. The range of information we access to gets narrower because we can’t imagine […]

    • May 26, 2020
    • August 2, 2022

    Do You Know What Beauty Is?

    Beauty and utility: Unfunctional things are not beautiful? When I was younger, I loved sports cars. They were a symbol of beauty for me. Every detail of sports cars is designed only for speed. In other words, they are collections of correct answers as a means of transportation. The young me simply thought that would be the reason why they look beautiful. Indeed, such an easy logic once comforted me to some degree but soon provoked some smoldering questions. What about art that is of no utility? Many people seem to believe art is beautiful, though. What is beauty? How to define beauty in philosophy and science? When I was young, I always tried to read philosophy books only to make myself look smart. Immanuel Kant wrote about aesthetic judgement in his work. As usual, it was too difficult, and my attempt (to make myself look smart) ended up in […]