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    • March 22, 2021
    • April 13, 2022

    Japanese Summer Festivals for Local Community Ties

    What we lost by the COVID Last year (2020), the COVID prevented the Tokyo Olympic Games from being held. There was one more thing it took away from us: summer festivals. The number of Japanese summer festivals is said to be more than 300 thousands. They are held everywhere in Japan every year in late August. It’s a magical time especially for kids. Cheap candies given after a festival dance, food stands, fireworks, etc. Kids enjoy together with friends, missing the last days of their summer holidays. The COVID robbed us of such a seasonal tradition and even a sense of the seasons. Before going on writing about Japanese summer festivals, I think I should explain a little about Japanese religious views because summer festivals are originally religious events. They are originally religious events In Japan, we believe the spirits of ancestors are back during summer, and summer festivals are […]

    • February 12, 2021
    • April 26, 2022

    How to Be a President: A Leader with the Times

    Super optimism Innate optimism is the most important quality required for a leader. This is the biggest lesson I’ve learned from the current (third) president. I joined this company just after the start of his administration since 2013. For about seven years since then, we have traveled all over the world. As I sometimes wrote, most of the trips were grueling, such as moving one country to another via overnight flights in a row. Even on the way back home from such long tough trips (even if they were ending up with no results), I’ve never seen him pessimistic or stuck in negative thinking. Mentor with anger management These days, the purpose of working becomes diversified. Once, people just worked for bread and butter. Now, someone may work for self-fulfillment; others may for social contribution. Accordingly, required leadership styles become diversified. I think the previous two presidents are similar in […]

    • February 8, 2021
    • May 16, 2022

    How to Be a President: A Man of Logical Thinking

    A great successor The Matrix Reloaded, Blues Brothers 2000, Speed 2, etc. These movies prove it’s very difficult to surpass the great originals. On the contrary, there’re some exceptions such as Terminator 2 and The Hustler 2. The second president of CondeHouse can be said to be one of such exceptions. I’m not flattering just because he is still at the desk near me as the chairman of the company. It is more like retrospective or hindsight. The company is still thriving (and I’m here) because he was a great successor. If I explain in short, from my personal perspective, he is a personification of logical thinking. An audacious project In 1984, the company transferred him (still in his 30’s) to the US to establish a branch office. The first thing he worked on was CI development. He brought together experts and prepared everything such as a brand name, a […]

    • October 12, 2020
    • April 20, 2022

    Peer Pressure Seen in a Japanese Furniture Factory

    Most of your actions are not done by your free will How many times did you reach for a cup/glass to drink something today? Can you believe that you did it not by your free will but by a biological reaction? It is a well-known fact that 95% of our daily actions are unconscious biological reactions. According to John-Dylan Haynes, a neuroscientist, we decide our daily actions seven seconds before we make up our minds. The good part of this theory is we can justify ourselves in making the same mistake over again. When reading about his experiment for the first time, I was so convinced but now am getting confused. Other decision making factors still look powerful to me. Peer pressure, for example, seems to be stronger especially in Japan. Let me tell you one of them, the “last-piece-of-food rule.” The situation shown in the above image is not […]

    • September 30, 2020
    • April 23, 2022

    Why Japanese Food Looks Beautiful

    Make life happy without money Do you believe money can’t buy you love? I may be too old to believe in such a naïve world as the Beatles sang. According to Daniel Kahneman, a genius winning a Nobel Prize in 2002, money can buy you happiness. No rush. I didn’t mean like “Hey look! There’s nothing more to life than money!” His point is nothing like that. His words continued, “as long as your annual income is less than 75,000 dollars.” He raised a serious problem for us. The more we get paid, the more likely we are to lose an ability to enjoy life. Money is not omnipotent. Let’s learn from the wisdom of our ancestors to make life happy without relation to money. Simple food on well-thought-out dishes Before the COVID pandemic, I flew around the world. The business trips taught me many unique points of Japan. Most […]

    • September 28, 2020
    • April 23, 2022

    Do You Want to Know What Timeless Design Is?

    The definition of time People in this industry like the words “timeless design,” right? Yes, our company also uses them for our products. To tell the truth, they sound a bit confusing to me because the definition of “time” is not completely settled in physics and philosophy. Today, I’m writing about timeless design from the view point of physics and philosophy. No worries but be careful. I’m not an expert in the fields, but just like to show myself smarter than what I actually am 🙂 The magic word, entropy Time flows at a constant rate — Newton developed the concept; Einstein denied it a long time ago. Now in physics, the flow of time is expressed by the change in entropy. Please don’t have a rejection to the word “entropy.” It’s the magic word that makes you look smart. Let’s say “Entropy increased a lot” instead of saying “A […]

    • September 25, 2020
    • April 16, 2022

    Why Japanese People Take Off Shoes in House

    Even if the shoe fits, take it off inside the house When going in the house, we take off shoes almost unconsciously. It’s very natural for us, like breathing. I’ve never even thought why that is, but it seems there are many curious people trying to find out the reason.  According to them: 1. It’s because the climate of Japan is high temperature and humidity; 2. It’s because of the Japanese unique culture to divide the world into in- and out-group; 3. It’s because of the Japanese unique culture to sleep on the floor.  The first one doesn’t answer why that is peculiar to Japan. The second one sounds reasonable but is remotely related. The third one has aroused my interest most. According to the third reason, we take off shoes inside the house to keep the floor clean because we sleep on the floor. My intellectual curiosity is stimulated, and I started […]

    • September 18, 2020
    • April 16, 2022

    Furniture Is Selected Only for Self-Satisfaction in Japan

    Martin Luther said “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” The words first reminded me of wall paintings in Lascaux Cave where Cro-Magnon people tried to express themselves without expecting someone else to see. Martin Luther and Cro-Magnon people taught me that we can free ourselves from other people’s values. Having said that, I still wear neat clothes outside; so ragged ones at home that even Cro-Magnon people would be surprised to see me at home. Their lessons don’t seem to be enough for my independence in clothes choice, but the IT revolution might finally free me. Less and less people wear neckties. I think the CEOs of the big IT companies, such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. might be one of the reasons for that. Give it a thought. Why do you think the custom has […]

    • September 9, 2020
    • May 16, 2022

    Do You Believe Market Principles Are Always Right?

    An extinct butterfly Last month, the Ministry of the Environment announced that a butterfly species (shown in the above image) endemic to Japan might have been extinct. The butterflies inhabited only in the southern islands of Japan. A massive decrease in their population has been seen for these 30 years due to predation by alien species of lizards brought in as a pet. This news is depressing and also scary because I always see ourselves in extinct creatures. It could happen to any of Japanese furniture manufacturers in the near future. What waits for extinct businesses is more sad ending than that of the butterfly. Most of the people may not even notice it. We will be just lost in oblivion. Extinct jobs In Japan in Heian period (794 – 1185), it was a hobby or art among aristocracy to listen to insect voices. Good grasshoppers, crickets, etc. were selected […]

    • August 26, 2020
    • May 16, 2022

    What Is the Design Concept of Old Temples?

    Horyuji temple in Nara, Japan is the world’s oldest wooden building The above image is Horyuji temple. Did you know it was the world’s oldest wooden building? It was built in 607 and is registered as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Japan is a country of earthquake. It’s a harsh environment especially for wooden buildings. Actually, the average lifetime of current residential buildings is about 30 years in Japan. That is much shorter than that of US (around 100 years) and UK (around 150 years), for example. Let’s see why Horyuji temple can exceptionally exist for such a long time. How old temples survive in Japan There are mainly two reasons for that. One is its earthquake-proof structure. The joints of the building frame were designed to be flexible to reduce the shaking force of earthquakes. Many researchers were surprised by the fact that such advanced thinking and technology already existed […]