Here some sun­day writ­ing on issues about Japan. My apolo­gies for not writ­ing this in Japan­ese, but this is not pos­si­ble with my level of Japan­ese. Rather than just lost mean­ings, I am not capa­ble. At the same time the Japan­ese lan­guage can­not be direct to thought with­out offend­ing some read­ers. Writ­ing this arti­cle in nor­mal Japan­ese will also dilute the urgency of action and polite lan­guage will  leave open gray areas to dif­fer­ent interpretation.

I have been in Japan for a long time now since my return from Hong Kong. Also I have not taken my monthly trip abroad for such a long time. As econ­omy con­tin­ues to weaken, it’s cit­i­zens are in denial to the prob­lems and as a result unin­ter­ested or igno­rant to the solu­tions it needs to imple­ment to repair the damage.

Why does it fail? The Japan­ese oper­ate on non con­fronta­tional rule in every slice of life although their agenda might be dif­fer­ent. To achieve some­thing, the soci­ety requires in depth for­mal meet­ings and dis­cus­sions and back chan­nel niceties to gain same foot on the ground. This is time con­sum­ing where mod­ern day eco­nomic deci­sion are made at the speed of light.  Many refer to this as “tatemae and honne” or  “sur­face or fake or tra­di­tion­ally cor­rect thoughts or feel­ings” vs. “real thoughts and feelings”  .

Thus it’s cit­i­zens are sub­servient to many sug­ges­tions by the rul­ing and unlike Orwellian work­ers do put up with con­tra­dic­tion by teach­ing it’s thought process to agree or worse yet pay dead to reac­tion.  Such is preva­lent in pol­i­tics and consumerism.

Japan has lived with LDP for over 50 years or one party rule. There really have been never given a choice but to live with the grand design left by GHQ and MacArthur. Although the par­ties have changed now, all old rules apply where bureau­crats and politi­cians play give and take to bal­ance the “leave no man behind” pyra­mid scheme.

After loos­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing to Tai­wan, then Korea and to China, Japan’s creed to develop global stan­dard tech­nolo­gies have also failed again and again since it tries to export Japan­ese imple­mented stan­dards which is slow to evolve though red tape, does not take into con­sid­er­a­tion for local­ity and arro­gantly imple­mented finan­cial model to pay­off local involvers first.

Japan fails to real­ize quick action to local pub­lic, national and inter­na­tional issues as politi­cians and bureau­crats rant on media about nar­row 15degrees of issues and leave the ream­ing 345degrees out of cit­i­zens eyes. This is eas­ily done as the 5 major Japan­ese media does it’s best to sup­port adver­tis­ers and leave out any mean­ing­ful infor­ma­tion and news about the world we live in.

One rea­son for the demise of Japan’s econ­omy is it’s inabil­ity to face the facts by it’s cit­i­zens. The sin­gle handed fac­tor caus­ing this non-involvement are the Japan­ese media and social val­ues.  Grab a copy of FT (Finan­cial Times) and Nihon Keizai Shin­bun, watch NNN news and BBC news and you will see the dif­fer­ence.  Japan­ese media fails to report any­thing mean­ing­ful in all aspects of social, polit­i­cal and eco­nomic issues. Why ? Because any­thing that causes a stir is not worth report­ing as prices to pay for such “indi­vid­u­al­ism” and “top­ics not inter­est­ing to con­sumerism and  masses” are dire.

The Japan­ese tele­vi­sion is even worse, as all TV shows are now run by tal­ent agen­cies and prod­uct adver­tis­ers with very lit­tle or now mean­ing­ful doc­u­men­taries or inter­na­tional news to be viewed. Grow up in this con­sumer sug­ges­tive envi­ron­ment and you grow up as a “no think” or “non-confrontational, fol­low the masses” adult. Tele­vi­sion in Japan for sure is destroy­ing it’s future. Yes Japan­ese do argue about issues on TV and blogs and news­pa­pers,  yes they are PHDs and politi­cians who make Obama’s speech look pale by com­par­i­son, but none of them act or have dif­fer­ent agenda than fix­ing the mech­a­nism because they know they can­not succeed.

A daily dose of Japan­ese tele­vi­sion con­sist of the following :

  • am — wide shows — news about stars and people’s pri­vate lives
  • noon — wide shows — same as am with some Korean drama and Samu­rai drama choices
  • after­noon — wide shows — same
  • evening — owarai — weird com­edy and quiz shows and specials
  • night — movies runs and low bud­get TV series
  • mid­night — brain­less talk and com­edy shows and if you are lucky some mean­ing­ful drama.

Only NHK, the Japan­ese national TV pro­duces world award win­ning doc­u­men­taries and is highly bud­geted. Most stars on TV are recur­ring as in any coun­try, but they all belong to the very few pro­duc­tion that con­trol the con­tent of the shows as well. The cul­ture of “tal­ent man­ager” resides within the agency as a maid and never an inde­pen­dent man­ager of a tal­ent as you would find in Hol­ly­wood. Stars are run by the sys­tem, that is the Japan­ese Geinoukai or trans­lated directly Tal­ent World. A barom­e­ter of this may be involve­ment in AID and Char­ity to the needy. Unless there is a TV show planned and thus a rev­enue stream, no starts do char­ity here until they become inde­pen­dent.  The agen­cies will not allow any of such “indi­vid­ual thoughts” to come first.

Most if not all TV vari­ety shows in Japan were orig­i­nally copies of west­ern shows, and evolve over the years to become dis­tinc­tively Japan­ese. Many Asian coun­tries imi­tate Japan­ese shows now, con­sid­er­ing it a well evolved sys­tem to attract views. Scant­ily dressed junior high girls show­ing their panties and singing will be con­sid­ered a crime else­where but not here where it dri­ves mass con­sumerism. Unmar­ried men idol­ize these types and search for sim­i­lar girls to be their wives. I have not­ing against this and do watch show as such some­time since I under­stand that this has noth­ing to do with sex or per­ver­sion. Kawaii is more sex­less and a state of mind, allow­ing you to for­get the ugly world and indulge in inno­cents by dip­ping into a real­ity dis­tor­tion cre­ated by the pro­duc­tion companies.

I am no dif­fer­ent to any typ­i­cal Japan­ese as I con­sume thru these wide-shows and mean­ing­less pro­grams on cer­tain occa­sions.  It leaves me sedated and worry less as I move on with my life.  Buy­ing the trendi­est gad­get, eat­ing at the highly rated ramen joint or going to a Hakone Onsen con­sumes me. How­ever faced with the ever sink­ing Japan­ese poli­cies to mend things to nor­mal, I am dis­gusted by the daily rant­i­ngs of “address all issues but do noth­ing” politi­cians and news com­men­ta­tors and cit­i­zens. Such could be a pre­lude to dan­ger­ous total­i­tar­ian times ahead if econ­omy goes bust and a charis­matic and active politi­cian manip­u­lates the masses.

Japan­ese need to learn the word “col­lat­eral dam­age” as made obvi­ous by poli­cies from Bernake and Oabama. In real­ity in any coun­try,  there is not TBTF. In Japan, “Too big to fail” only fails when all in the food chain can­not sus­tain life with­out hid­ing major pub­lic dis­crep­an­cies.  More banks need to fail, more pub­lic cor­po­ra­tions need to fail but are delayed to “pre­tend the norm” here. These pre­ten­sions accu­mu­late bang effect as deci­sions to kill them are laid off for the future. All wounds need to be out on the table and decided if they are to save the brain and body, but this is not the case here.

Japan­ese gov­ern­ments are pour­ing in “funds” they do not have for polit­i­cal rea­sons and sup­port­ing unqual­i­fied com­pa­nies as they stay afloat like zom­bies until they die pro­longed and ago­niz­ing death. At the same time, the gov­ern­ment does lit­tle to help large cor­po­ra­tions like Korea does. Where was the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment int he Toy­ota affair? Why does it tax so highly on return­ing prof­its from over­seas arm of local cor­po­ra­tions? Why does it not invest into national tech­nol­ogy devel­op­ment? Why does it not pro­tect val­ued intel­lec­tual assets before loos­ing them over­seas? Why does it have laws to dis­cour­age devel­op­ments of new tech­nol­ogy standards?

Yen inter­ven­tion is unlikely as China con­tin­ues to act to inflate Japan­ese cur­rency at the same time Japan­ese gov­ern­ment sells bonds to China to fund it. The polit­i­cal talk by Kan and finance offi­cials are all lip ser­vice to the pub­lic. They sim­ply are fun­nels of over­seas cash.

Here in Japan no one wants to be respon­si­ble for any­thing in soci­ety, pol­i­tics and busi­ness.  Since deci­sion is a respon­si­bil­ity, Japan chooses to col­lec­tively cover a deci­sion, so the pos­si­bil­ity of coverup is high. Add to this the fact that the bead crumb chain spans the band­width of elected offi­cials, pol­icy maker, bureau­crats, spe­cial inter­est groups, man­u­fac­turer and con­sum­ing public.

Japan could and should hire spe­cial­ists and PHDs to make pol­icy as it did with Mr. Tak­e­naka. How­ever the games needed to play pol­i­tics is too de-meaning  for any intel­li­gent aca­d­e­mics unless a new more suit­able atmos­phere for spe­cial­ist can be cre­ated.  Push­ing out the old boys who keep each other in bureau­cratic posi­tions to received the crumbs from national bud­get will be a night­mare as GHQ and sub­se­qunt laws of political-bureaucratic struc­ture was installed so to negate any grand poli­cies. It is not the Japan­ese pol­i­tics that made Japan great inter­na­tional eco­nomic power after the war, but com­pa­nies like Sony, Pana­sonic, Toy­ota, Canon and many oth­ers that made this coun­try great.

In anal­ogy this is sim­i­lar to the world when 98% of all oper­at­ing sys­tem was Win­dows. No one wanted to make an alter­na­tive or accept one for the longest time. We got no Steve Jobs here, or one that might come close, Mr. Masayoshi Son of Soft­bank get con­tin­u­ally bul­lied by gov­ern­ment and bureau­crats, but suc­ceeded because he was more deter­mined, brought in inter­na­tional and local new finance and out smart them all by play­ing on inno­va­tion and inter­na­tional smarts.

Japan­ese gov­ern­ment oper­ates as “priv­i­leged oper­a­tors doing  favors” for it’s cit­i­zens com­pared to “ser­vice entity” like in Sin­ga­pore. It is weak to social crit­i­cism of the mass media as it changes poli­cies and long term deci­sion overnight.

Many tal­ented indi­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions from Japan who know this too well have left Japan to find home else­where as they refuse to get stag­nated by the pace and method of Japan.  I am here to stay as I myself fall vic­tim to non action and rants as I did here with this article.


富士スピードウエイーの町、静岡県の小山町が9月9日の大雨で大きな被害を受けています。FISCO利用者として支援したく思います。先ずは事実を広げる運動から。モータースポーツに関係する皆様も是非大きな被害を受けた小山町をご支援ください。 サイト


More pho­tos from Chris has arrived so I post them here. I wish I was there too. Too much to do here in Japan. Lot’s hap­pen­ing. In case you do not know what this is, IBC is a anual trade show of broad­cast equip­ment for pro­fes­sion­als and pro­sumers. Many of our old friends and part­ners are here.


Had a won­der­ful fam­ily night out with the Mike and Frank and fam­ily. Rop­pongi Hills is hold­ing the Bel­gium Beer Week­end, Rob invited me to the recep­tion which I was not able to make, regret this, so sorry Rob.  Rop­pongi Hills is becom­ing more about enter­tain­ment and may be bet­ter than Mid­town where we moved our office. Mid­town is more Food and some Art, Hills is about enter­tain­ment, mod­ern art and kids entertainment.


















地球最古の恐竜展 ホログラフィック








もうすぐヒルズともお別れなのか?と近所を散歩。六本木交差点SOFTBANKでiPhone 4を2台購入に行くが、在庫無い。やはりプライムタイムのテレコマや女子高生、女性の口コミでiPhone強し。売れに売れまくっているのかA社の供給問題があるのか? わしにも分からん。 その足で全く利用しないDocomo番号を保有しているので「何か面白い物無いかな?」と入り相談。水牛のWifiルーターは昨日で販売中止?ビールスで?何じゃそれ? Docomo製品に最近セキュリティー問題で販売中止に成る製品多し。SH-07買うか?でもこんなにデカイ、重たい。家で寂しく転がっているFOMA SIMどうしよう? 番号チェックの結果、何もしないのに毎月4000円払っている事が判明。これもう数年続いている。よくなか〜。 最低限の契約に変更し何も買わず。BlackBerryが欲しいがテザリング出来ない。Experiaも良いが、それならFとかNとかSHがヨサゲ。






先日は来社の嵐。一日で何人の人が訪ねてきたんだろう?その中に関西の凄腕集団が持ち込んだ「Toys」は遊び心満点。目の保養に成った。iPad後ろのロゴを光らせるとなんと言う美しさ。この手のカスタムは今後ドンドン増えるだろう。いいね。写真は勿論 Leica M9+Noctilux 50mm 0.95、違いが一目瞭然。本当に美しい。

Was really cool to see back­lit Apple Logo iPads and top of the line white iPhone 4s. Yes not all white iPhone parts are equal.




香港から来たAsia GTレーサーたちと木曜は豚組で夕食。週末レースの話で盛り上がっていたのに。。。残念なニュースが。

富士スピードウエイーコントロールタワーに落雷のニュース。その後サーキットの町小山町で大きな洪水が。。今日のAsia GTは残念ながらキャンセル。遠くから来たレーサーたちはがっかり。30°以上の毎日が一気に崩れた異様な天気。



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