Why is it still okay to “present” by reading from the PowerPoint slides or a totally prepared script?

“a speech that is simply read, no matter how drearily, shows that the speaker is ‘prepared'” Read the rest of this entry »

Why is the Japanese economy so geared towards exports?

– Due to postwar currency controls, companies had to export to earn hard currency in order to buy the raw materials needed for any kind of production,including for the domestic market, Japan being famously short of primary products. The government giving their limited foreign currency reserves mainly to companies that exported exagerrated this trend. After that, I guess they just got into the habit…

– The domestic competition in some industries is so severe that exporting is actually easier than selling at home. It is noticeable that in industries where that is not the case (pharmaceuticals, life insurance, consumer finance) the big players basically don’t bother

Salaryman myth of the day

Lifetime employment is the Japanese way Read the rest of this entry »

Why do you have to be so careful with business cards?

Although I’ve never heard this explanation, I am convinced that this, like taking of your shoes, is based on an almost lost superstition rather than any practical or social factors. In Korea, anything that someone has written their name on has to be treated with the same care as a business card in Japan. I caused a scandal by writing an error correction on the back of a piece of paper that someone not in the class on that day had used as a name tag the week before.

Why are there so many vending machines? Second attempt

Shops are traditionally clustered in shopping steets (shoutengai) rather than being corner shops, and even now some posher suburbs have no shops for miles

Why are yakuza so happy to mark themselves as criminals with tattoos?

 “In Edo times, criminals were branded across the cheek or forehead to mark them for life. Once the yakuza came into power, they deliberately turned the punishment into a badge of pride” Read the rest of this entry »