Sunday Feb 17, 2008
Monday Feb 11, 2008
By jimgris on Feb 11, 2008
Friday Feb 01, 2008
By jimgris on Feb 01, 2008
By jimgris on Feb 01, 2008
Sunday Jan 27, 2008
By jimgris on Jan 27, 2008
I agree. And these trends argue for sweeping changes in Japan. I mean, really. If not now, when? I would love to hear anyone argue that nothing ought to change on this island. To me, all of these global economic trends are wonderful opportunities for the Japanese to grow in new ways. Bottom line: Japan will change or it will be changed. Period.
Friday Jan 25, 2008
By jimgris on Jan 25, 2008
Thursday Jan 24, 2008
By jimgris on Jan 24, 2008
It took about 2 hours to get home tonight. It's a 40 minute trip. Gigantic delays due to "personal injury" as they say here in Japan. That generally means someone jumped. Suicide. It happens all too often here. Very sad. But who knows the real reason. The point is that I was stuck on a slow moving train that eventually just stopped. And there I was. Me and hundreds of Japanese. Waiting. And standing, of course. It was rush hour. Fortunately, I had my phone and some reading material (I was reading about Bernanke and his Federal Reserve, believe it or not). From time to time I peeked at the women on my right since she was watching TV on her cell phone. Nice reception. And the guy on my left was watching TV on his phone, too. I need sound to keep my attention, though, so I couldn't follow it. Not that I could follow much of the Japanese, anyway. And others were just reading or sleeping. One guy was studying Korean. Beautiful typography in his textbook.
But what got me was the silence. We all
just stood there. There was very little talking and no complaining. Yet there were hundreds
of people stuck together quite literally inches apart. Some people called home to say, "Go ahead and
eat dinner," and such, and I was able to pick up bits and pieces of
various conversations. But when people talked on their phones, they
got off the train and stood on the platform and cupped their hands over
their mouths. The two girls behind me were talking a bit, but they
clearly knew each other. Other than that, it was dead quiet. Total silence. For 2 hours. Amazing.
Monday Jan 14, 2008
By jimgris on Jan 14, 2008
This article articulates a trend that can only lead to one result: the further isolation of a closed network.
Sunday Jan 13, 2008
By jimgris on Jan 13, 2008
Very interesting article about many Japanese coming to grips with the reality that China and India are moving much, much faster, and leaving Japan behind. To compete in the future -- a global future -- Japanese education will have to change rather significantly. This piece focuses on Indian education techniques in Japan. English, computers, math, and science are big parts of it, too. Japan is absolutely a country that loves fads. But I hope this is not a fad. The more diversity and global awareness here the better.
By jimgris on Jan 13, 2008
This doesn`t surprise me at all. The place is totally wired with all sorts of funky electrical gadgets. Even the toilets are plugged in. In fact, I can operate all the features of my toilet from the other room with a convenient wireless handset. Now, the fact that my toilet has features and has to be plugged in is nuts enough, but the wireless bit takes the whole experience to an entirely new level. And my bath? Well, it talks to me. In Japanese, of course. At least that one is not wireless. Yet.
Saturday Jan 12, 2008
By jimgris on Jan 12, 2008
Monday Jan 07, 2008
By jimgris on Jan 07, 2008
Some brief background first. Friedman breaks down the history of globalization into to three gigantic meta categories -- countries, companies, and individuals. Basically, globalization 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. And we are just now entering 3.0, the era of individual globalization, where everyone who has access to technology (that`s Friedman`s "flat-world platform") has to compete with everyone else in the world who has access to technology. Now, it took 500 years of globalization to get here, but that`s where we find ourselves now. And I think the key point to the book is that globalization 3.0 is very, very different from globalization 1.0 and 2.0 because 3.0 is based on, in part, the individual. That`s where Japan comes on.
Although Japan comes up from time to time while Friedman discusses globalization 2.0, I could find very few (if any, actually) references to Japan and globalization 3.0. Friedman goes to great lengths to talk about how individuals can compete in the new flat world, but that discussion seemed to be focused primarily on the United States and Western Europe and the emerging markets in Eastern Europe, India, and China. That`s when it hit me that Japan seems vulnerable under Friedman`s theory since Japan is not based on the concept of the "individual" at all and it`s certainly not an emerging market. It`s all about "groups" here, and individuality is somewhat rare among the average Japanese -- certainly among the millions of workers that make up corporate Japan in and around Tokyo. I didn`t think about this when I read the book the first time since I hadn`t lived in Japan yet. It`s obvious now, though.
So, can Japan, which is famous for its vertically integrated corporations (the exact opposite from Friedman`s open and horizontally flat world), compete in globalization 3.0? How would "groups" of people even recognize this as a problem? And how would these groups of people transform Japan`s various corporate global supply chains into an economy that recognizes individual global competition? This is not as great a problem for the west since most western cultures are based much more on the concept of individuality -- especially the United States. Friedman hints at this cultural issue when he quotes various Chinese leaders who recognize this very problem in China. China (and Korea, for that matter) shares with Japan some of these East Asian characteristics of groups. But China seems to be changing specifically to compete on all levels -- country, company, and individual. That third part is most fascinating here in East Asia. Will China pull it off? Will Japan recognize the issue and engage down at that level?
Some Friedman flat world videos here at MIT and here on Charlie Rose and here at the NYT.
Saturday Dec 29, 2007
By jimgris on Dec 29, 2007
Thursday Dec 27, 2007
By jimgris on Dec 27, 2007
By jimgris on Dec 27, 2007
Wednesday Dec 26, 2007
By jimgris on Dec 26, 2007
In Japan, Stagnation Wins Again -- "Maybe it’s time for a revolution." -- Joi Ito
By jimgris on Dec 26, 2007
Japan set for radical reform of markets: "There is a lot that is good in there," said a representative for a foreign bank. "It's not the end of the story. They need to keep doing more to globalise Tokyo as a financial centre." -- Financial Times
Encouraging more industries in Tokyo to think and act globally is a good idea for Japan. Many of Japan`s companies are global, sure, but the pervading attitude around the place is most certainly not global. I find China far more open to the west from a business perspective (and it ain`t even close). And many people agree. That`s why this set of reforms has been released by the government. Of course, they could call the guys at Toyota and Honda for a little advice. I`m serious.
By jimgris on Dec 26, 2007
Toyota sees bright future as world number one -- "Toyota has been careful not to gloat about its success in the United States, fearing a protectionist backlash of the type seen when Japanese automakers first seriously penetrated the market in the 1980s." -- AFP
I think this is a good marketing strategy, but with Toyota it`s more than that. The company is more focused on being profitable, building great cars, and carefully expanding into emerging global markets (China, Brazil, Russia) then they are on beating the competition. They know what comes first.
Wednesday Dec 19, 2007
By jimgris on Dec 19, 2007
The article is pretty critical. The bits I found most interesting were the language and culture issues, since I experience those walls every day. They are so much bigger than anyone on the outside realizes, and I think they go a long way to explaining Japan's lack of growth in certain global markets.
The article also states that Japan will have to compete with new sources of innovation in the future: "Over the next century, disruptive innovations won't be coming only from countries like the United States. They'll also be emerging from dynamic, hungry, rising economies that offer plenty of room for risk-taking, flights of fancy and cross-border synthesis." Although these sources are not directly stated, it's clear that the nations are primarily China and India, which are both embracing capitalism and globalization at blindingly fast rates, and both don't seem to struggle with the language and culture issues like Japan does.
Now, I've been told that these observations represent the distinction between emerging markets and mature markets. But I no longer buy it. Too much of that article describes my direct experience, so I no longer accept the excuses. But will Japan eventually react and change? Are the Japanese hungry enough to compete in a global economy? I actually think they will react and compete. And in ways that may surprise many of their critics. That's the cool thing about innovation and market disruptions. They cycle. When you are disrupted, that sets up the perfect circumstance to innovate do some disrupting yourself.
Thursday Nov 29, 2007
By jimgris on Nov 29, 2007
So, with all that cleared up, I now get to go to Narita Airport on Sunday, where Japanese authorities will promptly mug shot me and fingerprint me as I leave the country (here, here). Then they'll do it again as I return home. And then when I go on another trip I'll get mugged and fingered again. And so on. Not because I did anything wrong, mind you, but because I'm not Japanese. I'm known as a "resident alien" here. They call me a "foreigner" and they actually use that word. A lot. I live here and have already passed all the Japanese immigration processes. This is my home. I even pay a boat load of taxes to the Japanese government (and the American government). And I have a fancy immigration card and multi-year work Visa and all, but I'm still a "foreigner" so that means, of course, I'm a potential you-know-what. The big T. You know, I'm already reminded I am a "foreigner" on an almost daily basis in Japan. This just makes the obnoxious all the more obscene.
Monday Nov 19, 2007
By jimgris on Nov 19, 2007
Sunday Nov 04, 2007
By jimgris on Nov 04, 2007
Tuesday Oct 02, 2007
Monday Oct 01, 2007
By jimgris on Oct 01, 2007
Tuesday Sep 18, 2007
By jimgris on Sep 18, 2007
30,000 100-year-olds? My goodness. I keep wondering if I'll make it to 60 based on my current burn rate. I really need to relax ....
Sunday Sep 16, 2007
Monday Aug 27, 2007
By jimgris on Aug 27, 2007
I totally agree. And the quote Ken refers to is funny, but it's typical of European and American press coverage of Japan.
During rush-hour commute times in downtown Tokyo, you are literally packed in to the trains like cattle where not even one more human being could possibly fit (though they always try). So, there's no way to hide what you are reading. Heck, it was so tight tonight on the way home, I didn't even have enough room to read my Japanese homework. I couldn't get my hand far enough away from my face to focus on the text. Why? There was some guy's head there, and I was carefully studying his ear hairs. I counted nine. And there was another head on my left. And another on my right, and that guy really needs to floss. And there was an elbow dug into my back, and a red high heel buried deep into my foot (though she said she was very sorry for that one). So, forget privacy on these trains during commute time. There isn't any.
Sunday Aug 26, 2007
By jimgris on Aug 26, 2007
Humm. Why the need for visas for a simple business trip? Anyway, the lack of patience bit is the most important here. It's so very true. It's difficult for westerners to think in the time frames the Japanese do, and there is usually no clue to alert you that you ought to. And it gets even more complicated since not everything is thought of in the long term! In fact, many things are remarkably transitory here. Westerners are well advised to approach Japan with an open mind and a closed mouth. And the more humility the better.
By the way, the "slurping your noodles" quote in the article is great. :)
Friday Aug 03, 2007
By jimgris on Aug 03, 2007
Cool. At 60 million at least I'll be able to get a seat on the train.
Saturday Jul 21, 2007
By jimgris on Jul 21, 2007
Cool. Maybe my daughter will grow up to run Nissan in Japan some day. Actually, the very last thing I want for her to is be an executive, but that's not the point. Hopefully, Nissan will help industry in Japan grow up a bit here. It's 2007, after all, isn't it?
- Tokyo BarCamp 2010: Photos
- BarCamp Tokyo 2010: 4 Days Away
- Photos: Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
- Tokyo OpenSolaris Study Group: May 2010
- Tokyo OpenSolaris Study Group 2010.04
- OpenSolaris Night Seminar 041610
- Tokyo Linux User Group 041610
- Sun Japan
- Tokyo Linux User Group 041010
- OpenSolaris DTrace @ Yokohama Linux UG
No bookmarks in folder
- /Open Source
- /Project Management