On Japan Category (103)



Garrity’s Japan

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The Open Road Part II

The following is a continuation of Robert Garrity’s story describing his walk across Japan replicating Haiku Poet Matsuo Basho’s 2,500 kilometer journey from Fukugawa, Tokyo to Japan’s northern wilderness, as detailed in Basho’s world-famous “Oku no Hosomichi”. Robert Garrity began this journey in Summer of 1994, and broke it down into segments, walking the different segments each time he returned to Japan.

Basho Memorial Hall:
On the other side of the Sumidagawa bridge and down the street several blocks on the river- side is the Basho Memorial Hall, on the site of Basho’s original home. There is a banana tree in front that marks the hall.

The Tokyo Fish Market

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo Time Warp

The Tokyo Fish Market

If you ask anybody in Tokyo about the city’s Nihonbashi district, they’ll most probably call it a staid business area. The Bank of Japan and the Tokyo Stock Exchange are located there, so too the headquarters of many financial companies. Even the Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya department stores there are thought conservative.

This hasn’t always been the case. Until 1923, Nihonbashi housed a colorful and busy fish market right next to the famous Nihonbashi bridge, the point from which even today all distances to the capital are measured. For hundreds of years at the empire’s navel, the smell of fish and the shouts of fishermen, brokers and peddlers penetrated the air. Some 300 fish wholesalers were located at the market. From fishing villages as far away as Hokkaido, fish arrived early in the morning every day of the year. “Piscine types almost as varied and as beautiful as those at the marvelous Naples Aquarium may be seen,” gushed Terry’s Guide to the Japanese Empire in its 1920 edition.

Japan and Globalization

Written by  |  Published in TJ Business Expert

Japan and Globalization
English: The Global Language of Business

Interview with Yukuo Takenaka

TJ: How important is it for Japan’s future that Japanese people learn to communicate in English?
TAKENAKA: Extremely important. As the Japanese birth rate is declining and the aging population is increasing, Japan cannot rely on domestic business alone in this shrinking market. Japanese companies must go outside and increase business on a global basis. In business and in most professions, English has become the preferred global language. Chances are that if you speak English, you will be able to find someone in any country who can communicate in English.

Language is a tool for communication. Japan’s problem is that they teach English not for the purpose of using the language as a communicative tool, but for the purpose of passing exams. Learning how to communicate conversationally in English is imperative. I believe the greatest benefit you will gain by learning English is the ability to communicate face-to-face. It is acceptable if you speak broken English, as long as you get the message across. With the current Japanese English education system, they may learn some fundamentals but on average they cannot communicate effectively.

TJ: How important is globalization?
TAKENAKA: Every country needs globalization. The best example of a country that has isolated itself is North Korea. People are starving. I am certain that if North Korea opens up, their lives will improve immeasurably. Why is China better off today than 30 or 40 years ago? Because they have become a part of the global business community. Japan recognized that they greatly improved after opening up the country as compared to the Tokugawa period of isolation.

Living Legend - Tadao Ando

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Tadao Ando

Self-Taught Architect

Tadao Ando, born in 1941, is a former boxer who became one of Japan’s most renowned architects. His projects, which can be found in Japan, the U.S., the U.K., Spain, Germany, France, and Italy, are known for having large expanses of unadorned architectural concrete walls combined with large windows and wooden or stone floors. He has received such awards as the Pritzker Prize, Gold Medal of Architecture from the French Academy of Architecture, Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects and Gold Medal of the Union Internationale des Architects. He is a visiting professor at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, and University of California, Berkeley.

Photo Contest Grand Prize Winners

Written by  |  Published in Photo Gallery

The following photos are from Grand Prize Winners of the Japan Tourism Agency’s 2012-2013 Share your WOW! Photo Contest. These were selected from over 38,000 entries from talented photographers from across the globe.

 For more information about the photographers, please see the Japan Tourism Agency’s website at www.japantravelinfo.com

The complete article is available in Issue #272. click here to order from Amazon

Interview: Inventor Dr. NakaMats

Written by  |  Published in Living Legend

Dr. Yoshiro NakaMats is said by many to be Japan’s most prolific inventor. Take an in-depth look at his astonishing background in what is his most revealing interview ever.

Interview with Inventor Dr. Yoshiro NakaMats

Dr. Yoshiro NakaMats is said by many to be Japan’s most prolific inventor. His documented patents include some of the most significant inventions of our time including 16 patents related to the floppy disk which he sold to IBM, and many other inventions including retractable landing gear, the digital watch, the digital display and in total 3,368 inventions. Dr. NakaMats sat down with Tokyo Journal for an in-depth look at his astonishing background in what is his most revealing interview ever.


Editor's Insight

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Globalizing Haiku

Over the past 25 years or so, the Japanese art and literature form haiku has grown in popularity from its humble beginnings as an appendage to tanka poetry.

As a student of haiku, I have studied the styles of the four great masters Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, Kobayashi Issa and Masaoka Shiki.

But in attempting to write haiku in English in the 5-7-5 syllable format, I have found it difficult to find the sense of balance associated with the traditional poems.

Interview with Diamond Yukai

Written by  |  Published in Celebrity Showcase

JAPANESE rock rebel Diamond Yukai, who was born Yutaka Tadokoro in 1962, continues to reinvent himself in a music, film, television and writing career that has spanned nearly three decades.

As a teen, his parents, who were civil servants in Saitama, wanted him to conform to the system. They told him he would never succeed as a rock and roller. Diamond Yukai proved them wrong in the mid-eighties by forming Red Warriors, a band that went on to fill stadiums throughout Japan including the legendary Budokan and Seibu, the latter of which seats close to 40,000.

During this time, Diamond Yukai branched into the movie industry, beginning with a starring role in the 1988 movie “Tokyo Pop” directed by Fran Kuzui, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Fox TV’s hit series “Angel.” He co-starred in “Tokyo Pop” with actress Carrie Hamilton, daugh- ter of the legendary comedienne Carol Burnett. He went on to appear in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” in 2004 and numerous Japanese films and television dramas.

Focusing on Japan’s Strengths

Written by  |  Published in TJ Business Expert

TJ: What has made the Japanese automobile and electronics industries so successful in the U.S.?
TAKENAKA: Japan had its heyday in the decades following World War II. There was a shortage of quality products and the Japanese were very good at making products. They came in and supplied the world. The timing was right in terms of the world’s needs, the environment and Japan’s capabilities. You didn’t have to negotiate hard. You didn’t have to do a lot of sales and marketing. There was a lack of quality products being manufactured and people simply had wants and needs. The Japanese were excellent at manufacturing. Trading? Not so good. Marketing? Not so good. But you didn’t have to do a lot of that back then.

TJ: Is Japan going to continue to be a manufacturing country?
TAKENAKA: I think they have to. You have to focus on your strengths. If you only focus on your weaknesses, you’re going to become weak. The Japanese have an excellent skill set and commitment that suits manufacturing.

Let’s take a look at televisions. The Japanese used to be excellent at manufacturing TVs. But they stopped thinking about what the customer wanted. Konosuke Matsushita once said, “The customer is God.” In the old days, they really believed the customer was God, so they were always trying to figure out, “What does the customer want? What does the customer need?” They would find out so they could make good products that met their needs. Well, as you get more successful (this happened in America, too), you start to get cocky. They are still using the same words, “The customer is God.” Before they really believed it. But now it is only words. This is a common mistake with successful companies. They start imposing what they think their customers need on their customers.

Haiti's Historical Visit

Written by  |  Published in Editorial Features & Reviews

Haiti President Michel Martelly's historical meeting with His Imperial Majesty the Emperor

However long the journey, one must take the first step
Quelque Long Que Soit Le Chemin, Il Faut Faire le Premier Pas

One of the cornerstones of our stay in Japan was meeting with Their Majesties the Emperor Akihito and the Empress Michiko. We left their presence instilled with a sense of serenity and great wisdom that will remain forever engraved in our memories and our hearts.

RECENTLY, the Government of Haiti adopted a new dynamic business diplomacy through which we intend to promote a new image of the country worldwide. It is within this context that I accepted the invitation of the Japanese government, to pay a diplomatic visit to Japan in December 2012.


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