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    • June 1, 2021

    Do You Know the Art of Ninja?

    Languages create cultures I have a 12 year younger sister. When she was very small, I asked “What is your brother like?” She lisped “You like to eat tofu.” I know she was not wrong. Indeed, I like tofu even now, but her answer was far from what I expected at that time. Feeling disappointed, I thought by myself who I was, and realized it was very difficult to define myself. For the same reason, most people can’t see their own countries and cultures, but multi-lingual speakers are better at it. It’s because language creates culture, and vice versa. Today, let me share cultural differences and Japanese uniqueness found especially by a Japanese-English speaker. Uniqueness in hearing ability When working as a translator, onomatopée was always headache. Japanese language is said to have the largest number of onomatopée in the world. Making matters worse, there’s onomatopée to express even silence, […]

    • May 25, 2021

    Manifesto of Eco-friendliness

    The simpler the better? Did you know that many brands changed their logos lately? Such as BMW, VW, and Nissan in the automotive industry, for example. It is the mainstream to make it simpler. Speaking of simplification, the most famous example would be Starbucks. When the brand was launched, the scales of the mermaid were depicted one by one. Now, the scales were abstracted into wavy lines, and even the brand name was removed. One of the reasons for the simplification trend is said to be a reaction against the old days when companies tried to dress them up with ornate and decorative logos. Now, the simpler the better? A focused intention or not Another reason for the simplification trend, which is considered as the biggest one, is good visibility in digital devices. This sounds also reasonable because most people access information mainly from their digital devices, but simplification doesn’t […]

    • May 21, 2021

    No Reason to Like It

    Do we need reasons? Do you think you always have a rational reason or clear preference when choosing your actions? I’m in charge of sales, and so, always expected to explain the reasons why we recommend our furniture. In the explanation, I have to convince people with the benefits our furniture can bring to them, such as comfortability, design, etc. This blog is a good example. I struggle night and day (a little exaggerating though) with creating new content. Besides, it’s always a headache to lead all the stories to the conclusion of our brand promotion. Asking to myself again and again “Why our brand?” in order to squeeze out subjects, I’ve finally arrived at this ultimate question: Do we need reasons or preferences to decide our actions in the first place? We don’t know the reasons for our actions This time, a genius who helped me is Petter Johansson, […]

    • May 3, 2021

    It’s Better than Chanel No.5

    Degeneration of smelling One day at a restaurant with my wife, I was finishing off lunch with crème brulee, a kind of custard pudding. Soon after taking a bite, sweet and sour taste spread in my mouth. Nodding knowingly, I said “Lemon is doing its magic.” My wife, saying “What?! There’s no way that lemon is used in crème brulee!” She twitched and smelled it, and her judge was “Are you OK? It’s just gone bad.” I don’t mean to make an excuse, but our smelling sense has been most degrading among human five senses. Once human beings had more than 800 olfactory receptors, but now, the number is only less than 400. In exchange for that, we’ve got eyesight much better than other animals, though. Smelling sense acts on emotions and memories About 200 million years ago, in order to avoid dinosaurs, mammals are thought to be active at […]

    • March 29, 2021

    What Created Godzilla (Nissan GT-R)

    Nostalgia for legendary cars Nissan GT-R (R32), Mercedes Benz 500E. These monster cars were born in around the same time (around 1990). When I was a teenager, my friend’s father owned them both, and they sometimes gave me a drive. I will never forget the impression I had when riding in the cars for the first time. The start-dash of GT-R was just violent, though it was not normal but souped-up to more than 700 HP. I felt like being in a vault when riding in 500E. As it may sound like nostalgia from an old-timer, I don’t think such legendary cars will never be made again. In 90’s, car makers could spend more budget on product development, and legal restrictions (crash safety, environmental conservation, etc) were much less. I know social conditions have changed a lot since then, but the root of the reason why I’m dissatisfied lies somewhere […]

    • March 25, 2021

    The Revelation of the Pyramids

    It’s a public project to create employment It only took 20 years to make the pyramid of King Khufu by using many slaves. Is there anyone who still believes all this? Some decades ago, the Japanese biggest construction company (Obayashi Corporation) seriously calculated and estimated the construction period. Even if they tried with all their resources without limitation, it would take 5 years! I always thought the above legend of the pyramid construction would be too short time for people from about 4500 years ago. Think about it for a second. Pyramids are too high-quality for low-morale workforces like slaves without heavy machines. In my opinion, the construction of the pyramids would be a super-long-term public project to create employment and to enhance the national prestige. In fact, it’s not my own unique view but becomes one of the common theories these days, though. The evidence of a super-advanced civilization […]

    • March 18, 2021

    New Japanese Office Environment

    Changes due to remote work Do we still need an office? This discussion gets lively everywhere because remote work becomes common due to the COVID. The anti-office people are arguing there’re many advantages: productivity improvement by concentration improvement; more effective use of time by no commuting; stress-free from relationships at work. Before the COVID, I had a lot of business trips and was rarely in the office. Funnily enough, I once worked remotely but now work here in the office, against the times. Let me share what I, unfamiliar with working in the office for a long time, think about the discussion. The basic rules of Japanese offices In the first place, I think I should explain something more about the basic rules of Japanese offices. Executive desks are positioned at the window, closely facing to their team members. Private rooms are rare, only permitted for big bosses if space […]

    • 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 […]

    • March 8, 2021

    Speed VS Quality

    Speed and quality are not trade-off Leap before you look. Haste makes waste. These are ancient proverbs, meaning opposite to each other. It seems a speed-vs-quality issue has been long bothering us human beings. Speed, however, appears dominant nowadays because of the rapid change of the times, maybe. Mark Zuckerberg, the star of the digital era, well expressed the priority of the present-day business “Done is better than perfect.” I’m always in haste like the devil but don’t deny the spirit of painstaking and slow work. I don’t think speed and quality are necessarily trade-off concepts. Rebel against speed supremacy In short, I think it’s a matter of conditions. For example, if it’s a free meal at a five star restaurant, I could wait in a line even outside under cold weather for more than two hours, but I’m sure I couldn’t if I have to pay out of my […]

    • March 4, 2021

    Small Businesses in Japan

    SME are lower in productivity? In Japan, most of the small and medium enterprises (SME) like us may disappear in the near future. The SME Basic Act defines SME are companies with a capital of less than 300 million JPY or with the number of employees less than 300. According to the definition, 99.7% of the companies in Japan are categorized in SME. Soon after the change of government last year, the current prime minister organized an advisory board, and has implemented economic policies based on the advice of the board. The board members always treat SME like an enemy. They claim SME are the main cause of low productivity, though I strongly object to it. The cause and effect are reversed They always bring up a gap in wages in order to substantiate the low productivity of SME. I admit there’s a wage gap by company size, but I […]