Live Streaming is the World Changer!

It was in November last year when I found the new live streaming app called Periscope. I had heard of live video streaming platforms available at that time, but none of them were appealing to me. I could not understand the significance of having additional TV-type broadcasts that apparently did not have the quality of TV programs. I really enjoyed this broadcast 🙂 However, I happened to watch live streaming video from Paris on the next day after the terrorist attack, and that blew away my stereotype image of live streaming. Her broadcast showing the places where the massacre occurred was shocking to me, but I didn't quite understand […]

Etsy’s Translation Project & Who “English Allergy Japanese” Really Are

I love handmade crafts :-). If you have an online shop of your handmade crafts and arts with Etsy, here is a good news: Etsy is currently undergoing translation of their website into Japanese. You might have heard of so-called "English allergy" of the Japanese. That is, only a small percentage of the Japanese are "confident" enough to communicate in English in day to day situations. They don't dare to buy anything online unless they can communicate with the online shop in Japanese language. This, in turn, makes business opportunities for "import service providers". There are a number of such personal services available for the Japanese. The import service providers basically bridge […]

Job Hunting and Fairness in Japan

On Your Mark, Set . . . Bang! That's how job hunting of Japanese college students starts. All of them are made to wait for the "Bang", which date is set by Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), a very powerful business association. The date, therefore, is not mandatory, but a consensus made by a group of prime Japanese corporations. The idea of setting the date comes from the Japanese sense of fairness that all companies have the same chances to employ good students. This is the reason why not just member companies (about 1,300) of Keidanren, but also many others follow suite. It is not too much to say that jumping the […]

Tyhoons and Japan

Tornado alert is one of my memorable experience in Ohio, USA. I even recall the ominous green color of the sky and the tension I felt while we were staying put in the underground level of an apartment building. The warning caught me totally off guard, because I had not been paying attention to the information as local residents do. All I knew about tornados, at that time, were some images of devastated houses. Thus, here are 5 things that foreign residents and visitors might want to know about typhoons: 1. Tyhoon's High Season Between May and October is the high season. Although there are 20 to 30 typhoons born in each […]

“Hai” is the Most Tricky Japanese Word for Westerners

There is a cultural gap so wide between the Japanese and Westerners that neither even know it's there.  The meaning of "hai" in Japanese is a very good example. If you think "hai" always means "yes" in the English definition of yes, it could become the beginning of misunderstanding the Japanese people, especially in terms of business relations. Imagine that you are in the first business meeting in Japan for sales promotion. While you talk in front of  the procurement group, your Japanese counterpart keeps uttering "hai" in Japanese. You know "hai" means "yes" in English, and so you gain a little confidence in your talk and keep talking, while your counterpart keep […]