Japanese culture

    • August 31, 2022
    • September 17, 2022

    Human Comedy in the White Stitches of Maison Margiela

    Our greedy appetite for attention Is it the same in your countries? Some people put stickers of the names of their favorite singers or bands on their cars. I didn’t mean to criticize at all, but that looks a little funny and reminds me of the time just before the entry of elementary school. It’s a big event for Japanese kids. Parents buy all kinds of stationary, and a lot of textbooks are provided by the government. At this point, kids receive a harsh welcome from a social system. They need to put their name and class number to all of them, even to each of pencils. For the same reason, clothing items and bags printed with brand names (in most cases, they’re founding designer names) look funny to me. If someone wears a T-shirt printed with “Issey Miyake” for example, I’ll want to say a joke to him/her like […]

    • August 24, 2022
    • September 27, 2022

    Japanese Anime x Japanese Traditional Crafts

    Japanese anime is not only for kids When first learning what TGI Fridays stands for, I was glad to know many people even outside Japan have hard time surviving weekdays. At the same time, a question came up in my mind: Do they also feel depression on Sunday evening the same as me? I looked into it right away to find good English words to express the feeling: Sunday Scaries. For your information, the Sunday evening depression is called “Sazae-san Syndrome” in Japanese. Sazae-san is the longest-running animated TV series, broadcast every Sunday evening since 1969. From this fact, you can see how common it is to watch animated TV shows in Japan, not only for kids but also for adults. Even adults can enjoy “Attack on Titan” Conforming to the recent trend, I rarely watch any TV shows, though a TV itself stands in the center of my living […]

    • August 17, 2022
    • September 28, 2022

    What to Do in Japan: Japanese Fireworks Festival

    Japanese summer ends with fireworks festivals Fireworks festivals tell the end of summer in Japan. Of course, almost all of them had been canceled for these two years because of the COVID, but they are back this year! In my summer holidays, I went to the biggest one in Hokkaido, where more than 20000 fireworks are launched, and about 200000 people are gathered every year. In the festival, I clearly understood the limitations of online activities. There were many people dressed in a casual kimono, kids running and yelling with excitement (and some parents scolding their kids off), teenagers smiling at each other a little awkwardly (because they haven’t seen for a while due to the summer vacation), etc. This is the very Japanese summer scene that I’ve missed for long. A unique firework developed by the latest technology Speaking of the limitations of online activities, the sound wave of […]

    • June 7, 2022
    • September 23, 2022

    Flower Etiquette: How to Choose Flowers

    I rarely buy flowers. It’s only on Mother’s Day, though I forget even that sometimes. Probably that’s because I don’t really know what flowers I should buy. On Mother’s Day, it’s easy because flower shops offer a wide variety of Mother’s Day bouquet options. In addition, there’s a mental wall in us, I guess. In fact, I’ve never seen anyone who is waiting for his/her date with a flower bouquet, and so I believe it only happens in the movies. In other words, that may be because of Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman” or “Shall We Dance?” Flower gifting becomes a mission impossible for us ordinary people, based on my fully biased opinion.[...]

    • April 19, 2022
    • September 24, 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 in Japan. 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 here: 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. Rich people are humble, different from what we imagine It’s completely different from what we generally […]

    • April 1, 2022
    • September 24, 2022

    Company Entrance Ceremony Peuliar to Japanese Companies

    Japanese-style job hunting: New graduates start all together 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 […]

    • March 17, 2022
    • September 24, 2022

    High-context Culture: Do You Know the Meaning of Silence in Japan?

    Arrival: Cognitive difference between humans and 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 would have set the story like this. The aliens live in a four-dimensional world (because they’re depicted to see time as reversible), 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 three directions! This was a fresh reminder of the fact that we can’t transcend our cognitive frames so easily. Gattaca: […]

    • March 8, 2022
    • September 21, 2022

    Not Crazy Rich! High Class in Japan

    First encounter with a high society in Japan 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 only 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 in Japan She was a university student at that time. I met her in an English conversation school I attended every weekend. It took long […]

    • January 20, 2022
    • September 28, 2022

    Zoom Fatigue: 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
    • October 1, 2022

    Japan Travel Tips: Rice Wine and Wooden Furniture in Asahikawa

    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 […]