• February 4, 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 […]

    • November 12, 2021

    Now People Come to Enjoy the Inconvenience of Waiting

    We get used to waiting in a line in Japan What surprises foreigners who come to Japan is huge lineups of people waiting to enter shops, restaurants, etc. In the early phase of the COVID, there were many lineups in front of drug stores even in the early morning, I remember. Those huge lineups are thought to be a symbol to show the patience and politeness of Japanese people. Have you ever looked at them closely? A line of people moving little by little, only looking at their phones with no expression. To be honest, they just look scary and uncanny even to me. Do you know the camera app Dispo? With a few exceptions like some Japanese people, humans basically dislike being kept waiting, but even such primitive human nature may be changing among the new generation people somehow. Do you know a camera app called Dispo? It was […]

    • October 22, 2021

    What Do You Think Is the Essence of a Chair?

    EV will drastically change car design The deadly battles of rebellions against authorities have just begun. The famous ones of the rebellions are Google, Apple, and Sony; those of the authorities are Toyota, Volkswagen, and Renault. It’s about the battles over EV market share. I’m excited just as an audience to watch the battles because I believe the basic design or structure of cars is highly possible to change drastically. The great change in the power source of cars finally freed engineers and designers from the problems of heat, noise, and vibration from engines. I expect the change will create electric cars with exciting design completely different from that of gas-powered cars. Because it’s not a required element I’m positive about this change in the car industry for the above reason, but not always positive about all the changes in any industry. For example, I miss salmon crates. Hokkaido (our […]

    • October 8, 2021

    Design Speaks Louder Than What It Actually Is

    Hokkaido is a name-brand area even for Japanese people, proudly enough. If saying “I’m from Hokkaido.” outside Hokkaido, we will have a blast in chat. People will come to us and throw words like “I want to go there someday,” “I’ve been there many times,” “I really like beautiful nature and delicious food made of fresh ingredients there,” etc. In fact, Hokkaido is fully surrounded by the sea, and you can enjoy a fresh seafood. In addition, there are many dairy farms, and dairy products are good as well. People are glad to receive those marine or dairy products, but we can’t help but hesitate to bring them as a gift in business settings. To be honest, the package design of those products is often not very good. In Japan, it’s common to bring something as a gift even in case of a business visit to other companies. It is […]

    • September 16, 2021

    Are You Sure You Can Explain Who You Are?

    We don’t know exactly what we want A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Steve Jobs left the words. Sometimes, making matters more complicated, people say the opposite of what they want. Even McDonald’s failed The well-known example of behavioral economics is “Salad dish set launched by McDonald’s Japan in 2006.” The product development team of McDonald’s Japan was not smug, not acting arbitrarily. They just developed the epic-fail menu based on questionnaire results asking for healthy salad and saying no to junk food. Ironically, Quarter Pounder series (huge size burgers) debuted in 2008 and were a big hit. Product-out may not be that bad People don’t know exactly what they want. This would be the reason why we can never accurately forecast the market. It is always too chaotic because of human irrational behaviors. […]

    • March 16, 2021

    Chairs Upholstered with Japan Blue Jeans

    Japanese natural indigo Indigo is a dye extracted from a plant. As Jeans may be a synonym for indigo, it was once used to dye fabric all over the world, not only in Japan. You may think most of the jeans are still dyed in indigo blue. Nowadays, in most cases, it’s an artificial dye because natural indigo is difficult to handle. It requires a delicate adjustment according to the day’s temperature, moisture, etc. In exchange for the difficulty, the natural indigo of Japan provides more beautiful and deeper coloring. It has a long history Japan blue. Some of you may have heard this color name because it’s the signature color of the Tokyo Olympic Games. As having looked up the origin of the name, I’ve learned it is Robert William Atkinson, a British chemist who named it. The Japanese government invited him to Japan in 1875. He wrote in […]

    • February 18, 2021

    How to Spend Money Right

    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. 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 right.” 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.” One of the coauthors, Daniel Gilbert started the paper with such a sensational introduction, proposing the eight money principles […]

    • February 16, 2021

    3D Printing Technology

    Survivorship bias The headquarters of our company is in Hokkaido, the northern most area of Japan. The area is still the kingdom of brown bears. When I was a kid, my father often took me to rivers deep in the mountains to fish, always exploding firecrackers to avoid bears. He often told me “When you encounter a bear, don’t run, act dead.” It’s a kind of superstition widely believed here, but I always doubted it, saying to myself “How do we know that’s correct? We can’t listen to people who failed.” Later on, I learned it was survivorship bias. It is the reason why autobiographical books of successful people are good for nothing in most cases. Survivors survive because they happened to survive. So many things are forgotten As this may sound a little strange, everytime seeing removal building sites, I remember survivor bias. In order to enjoy commuting to […]

    • February 2, 2021

    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

    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 […]