CATEGORY

Japanese culture

    • April 19, 2022

    Eco-Friendly Can Be the True Trend of the New Rich?

    The rich-poor gap is seen even in trash In 2019, a book became a big hit. The author is an unpopular comedian working as a trash collector on the side. He wrote it was easy to find out wealthy residential areas once he sees trash. He went on “Wealthy residential areas can be divided into three classes based on their trash.” Let’s say the three classes: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. According to him, it’s not the contents of trash that make them greatly different from other areas. Of course, there’re some differences in trash contents, but what features the wealthy residential areas is the amount of trash. It is generally smaller. Furthermore, in case of the Platinum areas, it is much smaller even than that of the Gold and Silver areas. It’s completely different from what we generally imagine, isn’t it? This may be peculiar to Japan, but the public […]

    • April 1, 2022

    It’s Unique: Japanese Company Entrance Ceremony

    Japanese-style job hunting All the schools start from April to next-year March in Japan. March is the season of graduation. As this may sound strange to people outside Japan, all the high school and university graduates join companies and start working in April, all at once. For one year before graduation, many companies throw recruiting sessions, and final-year university students spend most of their time in those sessions. I remember the days of my senior year. I didn’t see classmates much in the university campus. Even if I did, they just made me feel sad by their neat and tidy look for recruiting sessions. Anyway, job hunting and employment are huge for both new graduates and companies because the idea of lifetime employment remains strong in our minds. In April, almost all the companies hold their entrance ceremonies. Company entrance ceremonies are for awareness-raising I was such an idiot as […]

    • March 17, 2022

    Do You Know the Meaning of Silence in Japan?

    Cognitive difference from aliens Have you watched the Hollywood movie titled “Arrival” (2016)? Simply put, it’s a science fiction depicting the contact with aliens. I know it may sound same old, but it’s completely different. The movie depicts the close encounters from the view point of linguistics. What is most interesting to me is the design of the letters the aliens use. It is 3D! The scriptwriter must be a genius. I just imagine he set the story like this. The aliens live in a four-dimensional world, and so, their letters are expressed in 3D. I’ve never even imagined to design letters in 3D, even a little. Can you believe it? The letters can be read from directly above! It was a fresh reminder of the fact that we can’t transcend our respective cognitive frames so easily. Cognitive difference from the talented In this connection, let me introduce another Hollywood […]

    • March 8, 2022

    Have You Ever Seen High Class in Japan?

    First encounter with a high society A noble class still exists in Japan. I learned the surprising fact when I worked for the prefectural government in Nagoya (the fourth biggest city in Japan and TOYOTA’s home ground) about 20 years ago. The fact may be surprising only to me because I’m from Hokkaido. It is the area sometimes called the last frontier of Japan with a short history of about 150 years. I had never seen such a class society until then. I think they’re different from just rich people. In my opinion, they are modest, exclusive (loyal to their own society), and mysterious. Mind you, I had and have nothing against them but just curiosity instead. Glimpse of a high society She was a university student at that time. I met her in an English conversation school I attended every weekend. It took long for naïve me to realize […]

    • February 1, 2022

    Do You Know the Truth of Godzilla?

    Godzilla becomes an academic research subject in Japan In my childhood, I memorized even the height and weight of many monsters in Godzilla movies, let alone their names. I’m sure I would have annoyed many people around me by proudly showing off the knowledge, and my parents would have wanted me to apply the same level of passion to study. Godzilla is a super movie content known to everyone in Japan, and many people, like film critics, marketing professionals, and even university professors have published study on it. The explanation that sounds most feasible to me is “Godzilla is the metaphor of nature.” Indeed, it has destroyed many cities many times, but has shown no animosity or hatred to humans, though making no apologies as well. Godzilla makes us remember a feeling of awe for nature Although I feel sometimes a little frustrated as an ex-military person, Japanese Self-Defense Force […]

    • January 20, 2022

    The Way How to Get Away from Remote Work

    We come to need hotels for another reason The COVID destroyed the bright future of the Japanese tourism industry. The number of foreign tourists to Japan was increasing year by year and exceeded 30 million in 2018, when the nationwide hotel construction rush reached its peak. After the disaster, the rumor said many landlords went bankrupt by changing their apartments to accommodations for Airbnb. In addition to an awful lot of vacant hotel rooms, the COVID created a strange trend at the same time. Nowadays people come to stay at local hotels near their homes. One reason is, as you can imagine, the free-falling hotel charges due to the collapse of the supply-demand balance, but it’s not good enough to explain why local hotels. Guess another one. I think it’s remote work. We can’t get away from work Thanks to the COVID, even workaholic Japanese people managed to escape from […]

    • January 10, 2022

    Long-Sellers Have a Good Reason to Survive

    Have you been to roadside stations in Japan? This is one of the basics to enjoy a road trip in Japan, especially in Hokkaido: Make the best use of roadside stations. This transport infrastructure was born in around 1990. It’s like rest areas on highways, providing a parking space, restroom, restaurant, and souvenir shop. Different from such highway rest areas, roadside stations are located along local roads. Currently, their number amounts to 1993 in all, and 129 of them are here in the biggest prefecture, Hokkaido. They are useful for a road trip and informative as a source point for each local culture. I always enjoy learning a lot about marketing. We can see the struggles of local municipalities in the operation of the roadside stations. The roadside stations are exhibition sites for locally-made products I think locally-made canned juice, bottled jam, and pouched curry are the top three products […]

    • December 17, 2021

    What We Do on New Year’s Eve in Japan

    What we do for Christmas in Japan Almost all the cities are filled with Christmas decorations in this season, though the percentage of the Christian population is only 1% in Japan. As I wrote before, we are good at cream-skimming other cultures but may be wrong a little about Christmas. Guess what the Japanese Christmas specialty food. Surprisingly, it’s KFC! In fact, you can’t get it without a reservation in Christmas time in Japan. This is said to have started from a lie by a shop manager of KFC in 1970. He spread it around “Everyone eats fried chicken in Western countries in Christmas time!” He must have been a genius marketer, and KFC Holdings Japan, Ltd. owes a fortune to him. Year-end cleaning after Christmas You can see the distinctive feature of our cream-skimming skills right after Christmas day. All the decorations are quickly removed; people don’t even look […]

    • December 10, 2021

    What We Can Learn from the Best Chef in Japan

    A long ascetic practice is meaningless? Once, it was said that 11 years were required to become a full-fledged sushi chef. Young people had to bear up long working hours, which was taken for granted in the Japanese artisan industries. The pros and cons have been discussed for several years, and many people now come to think it’s just useless. They claim even high school kids can reach the level of a full-fledged sushi chef if they have good and fresh ingredients and a perfect recipe quantified in detail. As the metaphor of high school kids may be exaggerating, I think their claim would be logically correct. The best chef in Japan is a man of ascetic habits Kiyomi Mikuni is the most famous Japanese chef born in Hokkaido. He grew up in extreme poverty. Soon after graduating from junior high school, he started to work for a rice dealer […]

    • November 4, 2021

    Do You Know How to Bathe in Japanese Hot Spring?

    How to spoil yourself in Japanese hot-spring inns Which country do you think has the most hot springs in the world? You thought I would answer it was Japan? No, it’s the US, and Japan comes second. There are so many hot springs in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) in the US. As I’ll describe later how lazily we stay in hot-spring inns, it’s true that hot springs spoil people. The problem of hot springs in YNP is they will literally spoil human bodies because most of them are strong acid. If it’s limited to hot springs we can enjoy, Japan is No.1. Today, let me explain how to spoil yourself correctly in Japanese hot-spring inns for your future reference after the COVID restrictions are lifted. The first rule of Hot-spring club: Bathe three times at least Averagely, we bathe three times for a stay of one night: Soon after check-in, […]