• January 25, 2023
    • January 27, 2023

    How Tokyo Haneda Airport Could Become the World’s Cleanest Airport

    What do you think the smell of your country is like? This may be a difficult question to answer because it is said that we can’t smell our own house. A sense of smell is likely to decrease more easily than other senses, and we soon get used to even bad smell. This would be one of our defense mechanisms. Anyway, I like to take a sniff when getting off an airplane and taking the first step in an overseas airport. In most cases, I smell something I’ve never smelled in Japan, which always makes me realize I’m far away from home. I’ve heard a rumor that people coming from overseas smell something like soy sauce in Japan. Remembering the rumor, I googled it and found the report of a survey to foreign tourists just arriving in Tokyo Haneda airport. Of course, it was not a serious one, and was […]

    • November 1, 2022
    • November 3, 2022

    Business Tips: What Is the Value of NFT?

    “A diamond is forever.” I’m sure many of you have heard this before. It’s a tagline made by Mary Frances Gerety for De Beers in 1949. Grammar sticklers with poor taste like me may feel something wrong with the sentence, but it has attracted so many people and was chosen as the best tagline of the twentieth century in 1999. The reason why this tagline came up to my mind is because I’ve just started to read “Master of the Game” by Sidney Sheldon. Embarrassingly, I’ve only heard of the title but never read it. In the prologue of the story, the main character, the old lady recalled her younger days, and the people coming into her life were described as ghosts. The first ghost is Jamie McGregor, who went to South Africa in 1860s to seek his fortune, and the description of the diamond rush grabbed my interest. I’m […]

    • February 18, 2021
    • January 30, 2023

    Good Money Sense: How to Spend Money Wisely

    We have to develop money sense It is common for me to lose (rare to make) thousands of dollars a day in the stock market. On the other hand, I sometimes give up buying cereal only because it doesn’t sell at a bargain price, though eating it almost every morning. I once bought a suit at more than 2,000 USD but hardly ever wore it. It was so scary to only think about the possibility to spill something on it. This may be a natural result for a man like me who always wear UNIQLO (synonym for cheap clothes in Japan) from head to toe at home. Spending money seems as difficult as making it. Today’s subject is “How to spend money correctly.” Let me share an interesting paper by Harvard psychologists. Buy experiences instead of things “Money can’t buy happiness. This sentiment is lovely, popular, and almost certainly wrong.” […]

    • October 2, 2020
    • October 12, 2022

    Japanese Culture and Traditions: The Reason Why We Can Think Outside the Box

    Taiyaki in NYC Have you ever seen the above ice cream (in the thumbnail image)? I’ve heard it’s extremely popular in NY now. When seeing the image, some Japanese people would have mixed feelings. They would be proud of the spread of Japanese culture, while feeling regret for not having had such an idea earlier. Yes, this ice cream is inspired by Taiyaki, a Japanese traditional pastry. Taiyaki ice cream may be re-imported to Japan like a California roll In ancient times, most of the Japanese sweets were made mainly from rice. Rice was very valuable, and so was sugar. General people couldn’t eat sweets. They were something to offer to the gods in the past. It is said pastries (made from eggs and flour) were imported from Portugal in around 1700. Funnily enough, about 300 years later, the Japanese pastry in the shape of fish goes across sea to […]

    • August 3, 2020
    • December 13, 2022

    How to Design Furniture, Michael Schneider #2

      This time, Michael talks about how product designs would change according to the changes in the market, especially about changes due to the recent rise of subscription and sharing businesses. Michael Schneider: I assume that subscription and sharing businesses will expand further in the furniture market. People will rent even pieces of furniture for a certain period of time. They will go back to factories for refurbishment and again be sent out to other users. This cycle could go on and on until they eventually go out of fashion or break. We will make furniture on the premise of continual refurbishment and changes in ownership. Accordingly, designers would have to focus more on efficiency in order to make production, packaging, and delivery easier. Despite such a trend, some of the current mainstream furniture will remain, patronized by people who appreciate true authentic value. Take Karl Lagerfeld for example. He had […]

    • July 27, 2020
    • August 18, 2022

    How to Design Furniture, Michael Schneider #1

    Product design with the times Many social scientists say we humans will, for coming 100 years, experience the same amount of change as what we had got through over the last 2000 years. It’s not only about technological advancement but also about our mentality. People become less interested in owning things (as shown in the rise of subscription and sharing business models). Our economic activities shrink day by day. How should we manufacturers adapt? I threw this question at one of our product designers, Michael Schneider. Michael Schneider: I am affirmative on subscription and sharing business models because they will enable us to live our lives with less costs and pollution. We are living in times of saturated markets, global warming, and limited resources. In such a condition, we have to make sacrifices to some degrees. Thanks to IT revolution and digitization, people will realize many business ideas more easily […]

    • July 22, 2020
    • September 21, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: Interview with a Manager #2

    Interview wit a product development manager Let me continue to share the interview with our product development manager. “Products in good quality and design don’t always sell well.” These words aroused my interest in his opinion on design, because he meant market valuation about design would not always be appropriate. Then what is good design from the view point of a product development manager? Q 4. If what you said is correct, are there products that are bad in design but good in sales? Good sales doesn’t always mean good design? A 4. Sadly for me, design is not a centerpiece factor any more to decide if a product sells well or not. Now that marketing, advertisement, etc. have more significant influence, people are more likely to decide not by physical factors like design and quality but by impression fostered by advertising media, for example. Q 5. What is good […]

    • July 20, 2020
    • October 6, 2022

    Difference in Production Management Between Ferrari and Toyota

    Production in Ferrari and Toyota According to the government, we have experienced the longest economic expansion since after the WWII. Although it seems like we ordinary people are left out of the economic boom. Surprisingly enough, more than 500 of Ferrari cars are annually sold somewhere in Japan, not around me at least. Speaking of Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari (the founder of Ferrari) left these famous words. “In the beginning the engine existed.” His point is it’s engines that feature Ferrari. Italian craftsmanship, based on expert technique and experience, realizes the world’s leading engines. There’s a consensus for that anywhere in the world. This doesn’t mean Toyota is inferior to Ferrari. I think the production of Toyota is also another act of God. They annually produce millions of cars in high and constant quality. No matter how much the price is, cars are precision machines consisting of more than 30000 pieces […]

    • July 15, 2020
    • September 21, 2022

    The Background of Product Development: Interview with a Manager #1

      Interview with a product development manager Are you interested in our product development stories? I actually am! Due to specialization at work, I don’t know much about how our products have been developed. Under the veil of work, I asked many questions to our product development manager. The questions that I’m personally interested in the answers to. They are more about the value he has in product development, rather than concrete methods of product development. This is delivered in two times: this week and next week. Q 1. Why did you decide to work in the product development of furniture, not other products? A 1. When I studied at Collage of Arts, the most popular industries were cars and electrical appliances, but most people working there didn’t look so happy. As specialization progressed, some people always worked on door mirrors, others worked on switch knobs, etc. On the other […]