• March 10, 2022
    • May 24, 2022

    Do You Know the Role of Japanese Giant Hornets?

    Rare and luxury food, honey made by Japanese honey bees Honey made in Japan is expensive, but most of them are made by European honey bees. Honey made by Japanese honey bees in Japan is so valuable. I’ve never eaten that, of course. Japanese honey bees are slightly smaller than European honey bees, and accordingly, their ability to collect nectar is lower. More time is required for the harvest, which diversifies the sort of honey ingredients (flowers), ages honey, and consequently makes the taste richer. Another reason why it’s more costly is Japanese honey bees don’t stick to their hive, while European honey bees do. No matter how much beekeepers take care of their hive, they sometimes abandon it. Funnily enough, this is one of the reasons why they can survive in Japan. Bees VS hornets The king of insects in Japan is Japanese giant hornets. They are 40 to […]

    • March 8, 2022
    • June 8, 2022

    Have You Ever Seen 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 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 for […]

    • March 4, 2022
    • May 24, 2022

    This Is a Must-Visit, Hokkaido Ramen Noodle

    Ramen is the expression of Japanese people’s local pride The most popular Japanese noodle dish is “Ramen.” These days, Japanese Ramen restaurants open even in Manhattan. I saw on the news that New Yorkers ate it over drinks and chat, like enjoying elegant Italian pasta dinner. It’s totally different from the one I’m writing here about. In Japan, Ramen is a fast food. Some consumer research says the average time to finish Ramen is only 14 minutes. Funnily enough, Ramen is closely related to Japanese people’s local pride. It’s probably because Ramen is reasonably priced and popular especially among the common people. You can see many Japanese people brag about their local Ramen even on the Internet, like I’m doing right now. Hokkaido is the kingdom of Ramen A major online news company every year announces the prefectural ranking of Ramen. Hokkaido (our home prefecture) is always ranked high, and […]

    • March 1, 2022
    • June 8, 2022

    Are You 100% Sure of What You Like?

    We can’t explain even our own taste Why do we like what we like? This question has been always stuck in my head. I like curry but don’t want to eat it every day, while eating cereal every morning, though I don’t like it very much. I watch YouTube videos of social science as much as those of animals, but I would only talk about the former if asked. I know this is simply due to my silly pride to make myself look smart, though. In this way, we don’t always do or express what we like, and sometimes lie about it even to ourselves. Our taste is so complicated and mysterious that we can’t explain in most cases. Our expressed intention is untrustworthy If you’re interested in this mystery, I’d like to recommend this book: “You May Also Like” by Tom Vanderbilt. The book explains our taste from the […]

    • February 25, 2022
    • June 8, 2022

    Do You Know How to Survive Video Meetings?

    The trick to have a good conversation Do you know the secret to having a good conversation on the first date? At least in Japan, I believe many people know it: You must reserve seats facing the same direction! The psychological effects that appear by sitting face-to-face are strain, conflict, and seriousness, while we instinctively have the sense of sympathy, intimacy, and affection when facing the same direction. I used to use this psychological theory in my younger days, though I don’t think I gained a lot of benefits. Now, the theory is confusing me. How should we position ourselves in video meetings? Silence is less tolerated in video meetings How many video meetings did you have last week? I believe they become more and more common than in-person onsite ones. To be honest, I don’t like video meetings. You imagine that’s because it’s more difficult to read participants’ emotions? […]

    • February 21, 2022
    • May 24, 2022

    Do You Know How to Become Popular?

    Why male peacocks have colorful feathers Why do the colorful feathers of male peacocks attract female peacocks? Some people may accept the simple explanation: “Because they are beautiful,” but I never did. In all through my school days from primary to university, I was an enthusiastic student. My main research subject was always “How to become popular with girls,” though you can imagine the results of my study from the fact that it continued up until university. Anyway, it was only natural that such an enthusiastic student became interested in the colorful feathers of male peacocks and got to learn the handicap principle. The key to popularity is the handicap principle Please give it a careful thought. Don’t you think the attraction of the colorful feathers make no sense? For example, lion’s mane looks reasonable because it has a practical purpose as a protector, but what about the feathers? They […]

    • February 17, 2022
    • May 24, 2022

    Do You Know the Truth of Inflation in Japan?

    Tragic inflation will attack Japanese school kids Are bananas categorized as snacks for a trip? I ensure this phrase never fails to make Japanese people laugh. Japanese elementary school students (6 to 12 years old) go on a school day trip once or twice a year. It’s fun and special to go to a zoo or a park together with classmates, but equally or more important is they are allowed to bring snacks. The problem is the total amount is limited to less than only 300 yen (about 2.6 US dollars at the current exchange rate) in most schools. Kids always beat their brains to maximize the benefits arising from such a limited amount of snacks. This is the reason why bananas are subject to debate as above (as a joke) in Japan. Snack price will be inflated, but the kid’s allowance won’t You may think you can’t buy anything […]

    • February 15, 2022
    • June 8, 2022

    Do You Know Why We Love Wood?

    We Hokkaido people reach enlightenment by clearing snow Nothing can stay the same. This is very famous Buddhist terminology, meaning “Life is fleeting and empty.” Even on weekend, I always wake up very early and leave home before six to go to a gym. On the way to the gym, I very often see many elderly people. They are active outside and clear snow even in the very cold and dark winter morning. Every time I see such people, the above words come up to my mind. Our life is very short, but we have to spend much of our time to clearing snow here in Hokkaido in winter, even though it melts away in spring anyway. Once even snow-clearing tools were made of wood The above image is of the International Snow Clearing Championship held in Hokkaido since 2013. It may sound funny to you, but it’s natural for […]

    • February 10, 2022
    • May 25, 2022

    Do You Know That Beetles Like Acorn Trees (Oak)?

    How the green flash appears? Let secrets be secrets Do you know the green flash? Fairly infrequently, at the moment of sunrise or sunset, the upper rim of the Sun looks to flash in green. You might have learned it from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.” On a similar note, I know another strange natural phenomenon. I believed it was, to be more precise. When it heavily snows at night, the sky looks tinged with orange here in Hokkaido. It was my special secret. One day, with an air of great importance, I shared the secret with my wife. Against my expectations, she said quite casually “Snow in the sky just reflects the street light.” I’ve decided in my heart not to tell her any more secrets. Orange-tinted street lamps are gone High-pressure sodium lamps are used for the street light in Hokkaido because the orange-tinted light improves visibility […]

    • February 7, 2022
    • June 8, 2022

    Do You Want to Participate in Our Factory Tour?

    Asahikawa, Hokkaido, it’s the city of rivers This is the central station of our hometown, Asahikawa, seen from due south. The two bridges are still new, built about 10 years ago. In the days without the two bridges, the city center was divided into two parts, and the south side of the station was just a deserted area. Even now, the area is full of nature for the second biggest city in Hokkaido with the population of 340,000. The river is so clean and beautiful that I once saw a businessman in a suit walking down from the station, taking out a fishing rod from his briefcase, and fishing trout in a moment. He looked so cool like James Bond. Anyway, having an oasis in the very center is one of the charms of our hometown, but our chairman doesn’t seem to be satisfied at all. Riversides should be a […]