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working in Tokyo

2週間の中国滞在で感じたこと(Japanese only)

今は日本。先週と今週、出張で上海と北京にそれぞれ4泊5日滞在したんだわ。(合間には日本に戻ってる)

しばらく旅をしていなかったし、この出張は久しぶりの刺激になると楽しみにしていた。そもそも、学生時代には香港、台湾、上海と旅行したこともあって、PM2.5とかで騒がれている中国だけど、まあ馴染み深い国。

中国人のオモテナシって半端ないなぁ・・・優しいなぁ・・・って今回の滞在で改めて思った。。国同士のいざこざなんてみじんもないよ。彼らは僕にとって大事な友人。

そんな彼らの心温まるエピソードを少し共有させてくれ。出張ってことだから、あまり細かいことは書かないけどさ、でも結構長いから暇つぶしにどうぞ。

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上海の仕事ではKとNって奴と知り合ったんだ。それぞれ僕と同じくらいの年。なんか、雰囲気、大学の友達ができたような感じだよ。こいつらもさ仕事に一生懸命で、すごい誠意を感じる。それでいて、大事な会議が終わったあとは「一緒にカフェに行こうぜ」って誘ってくれて、お互い仕事の愚痴言ったりして。Kとは僕の子供と同じくらいの年の子供がいるから特に仲良くなったんだけど、それでも僕のために夜御飯一緒に付き合ってくれたり、中国語が喋れない僕のために色々付き添ってくれたりして。

ある夜、僕は特に出歩く同僚もいなかったし、まあ気ままにひとり上海散歩しようって感じで町歩きしたんだ。それを次の日にNに話したら、ちょっと真面目な顔して、

「おいおい、どうして言ってくれなかったんだ!?見知らぬ街で君を一人にさせるなんて考えられない!今度は必ず声かけてくれよな。どこでもおれの車で連れてくから」

って。しまいには、

「今度こっち来るときには空港についたら電話くれ。迎えに行くから」

だってさ。なんか、こういうのを通じて仕事以外でもホント仲良くなったからさ、Kの娘さんには日本の子供服やおもちゃでも買ってくよって約束したわ。喜んでくれたし別れ際はじーんと来たね。

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北京では昔の仕事仲間のWに会ったんだけど、なんと直前にサプライズが。日曜日に北京入りして待ち合わせ前のSMSで「僕”たち”はもう待ち合わせ場所についたよ!」って。えっ誰?って聞いたら「My wife!」みたいな返事が来てびっくりしたよ。土産にハイチュウと日本のお菓子少ししかなかったから悪かったな・・・。

奥さんのJも初対面で慣れない英語を使って、北京をいろいろ案内してくれてね。屋台ではなんか小籠包とか、焼き鳥とか、もつ煮込みとか、ヨーグルトとか・・・(まだあったな・・)、色々とおごってくれたよ。本当に仲良くて親切でいい夫婦なんだ。
あとは、天安門広場とか、その日は僕が行きたいって場所いろいろ連れたんだわ。タクシー代とか全部出してくれて。じゃあ、晩ご飯くらいはおごらせてもらおうって思ったら、

「お金はいいから」
「いやいやいや・・・一緒にお供してもらってるだけでありがたいのに、何を・・・。交通費も全部払ってもらってもらってるのに、僕、そこまでしてもらわなくていいよ・・。レストランは君の結婚祝いにおごらせてよ」
「だめだめ!僕は君を振る舞いたいんだ」(*)
(*)最近の中国は物価が高騰してて、決して安くない。多分、日本人のお金の感覚で3人で2万円くらいかな。高いよね。

その日の締めくくりは夜10時くらいで、もう上海の終電が来てる時間。僕の乗る地下鉄の乗り場まで来てくれて、
ぼく「ここまで送ってくれてありがとう、今日はとても楽しかったよ。」
(電車来る)
W&J「(不思議な顔して)いやいや、ホテルまで送り届けないと僕達安心できないから」
ぼく「だって、明日朝6時起きでしょ??そんな疲れさせたくないよ!」
W「大丈夫、初めての北京を最後までおもてなししたいんだ」
(電車着く)
ぼく「じゃあ、あとはバスに乗って帰るだけだ、本当にありがとう」
W「バスは待つし、君は疲れてる。タクシーに乗ろう」

・・・てなわけで、結局、ホテルのロビーまで送ってもらったわけです。2日後の夜、また都合が付いたから晩ご飯に誘ったら、なんと、僕の大好きな中国茶の詰め合わせをプレゼントにくれた!またご飯の会計はいつの間にか済んでいたし・・・。帰国の日の前には夫婦それぞれから
「今日はお見送りにいけなくてごめんなさい、だけどまた会える日を楽しみにしてます」
だって。また会いたくなったな。

WとJは今年に結婚式を挙げるようなんで、出席は難しいにしても祝儀はなんとか届けたいもんだ。中国、空気は悪いけど、人間関係は最高だよ!

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一生という時間 (Japanese only)

あー、今年も一年早かったなぁ、子供が生まれたからかな、なんか時が過ぎるのが早いや。
いや、だけど早すぎたよ。だって、ついこの間大掃除してた気がするもん。

別の考えでは・・・もう30年生きたのか。人生80年とすると、残り50年か。どれくらいの長さなんだろう・・・

って考えたら焦った。これは備忘録。

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30年と言われても、生まれてからの時の長さはよくわからない。じゃあ、20年昔はどうだろう?

ー 20年前は僕は10才だった、小学3年生か。よく覚えてる、北海道の東端の漁村・根室で卓球を始めたばかり。
いい友達も増えたし楽しかったなぁ・・・ついこの間のようだ。

なるほど、20年はこれくらいの長さか。結構早かった。試しに10年前を思い出すと僕は大学生、いやいや、ついこの前の話だよ。

じゃあ、今から20年先は何才だろう?20年後は50歳か、うちの親父はもう60歳近いけど、なんか親父の年齢みたいだな・・・なに、その年齢まであっという間ということか。

ちょっと待ってよー。ボーッとしてたらまた一年が過ぎちゃうでしょ、んでそれを軽く10回繰り返したら10年、
そしてそれが2回きたら20年・・・

毎日をもっと充実させなきゃなー。今も楽しいけど。
だけど後悔ないように毎日を生きないと、この楽しい時間が惜しいわ。
もっと勉強しないと!また来年の抱負考えるわ!

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Article review on Bloomberg: “What the Web didn’t deliver”

Do you think the Internet generated big money? I believed so, but now I am convinced that it is actually not true, I had illusion about the Internet as virtue of everything, including economic prosperity.

–> "What the Web didn’t deliver"
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-20/what-the-web-didnt-deliver-high-economic-growth

I would like to support and argue the author’s statements one by one from 3 different perspectives.

1. Total expenditure of each person remains the same — Agree

As far as I look at my wallet, well, I rarely buy expensive electrics, I spend much on transportation, and traveling, but buying does not have to be in the Internet, even though online shopping makes it far easier than without.

2. Does not make much of a difference in reducing unemployment — Agree

In Japan speaking, we have nasty job application system which mixes the downside of manual work and the downside of digital work. Students spend hours on completing Web application forms and print out the form and send it again via post to human resource department with beautiful handwriting. However neither companies nor students feel happy about that, I assure it.

3. People’s productivity is equalized by positive and negative aspects i.e. same — Disagree/Agree

Using the Internet, it requires less time to reach information, but only if you don’t surf. This article shows some data about typical workers in the US. like majority of them spend much time on online-shopping or YouTube or some X-rated pages. However I believe the time amount you saved thanks to the Internet and the opposite is not equal, but the Internet is more beneficial than harmful. Even such ‘waste of time in surfing’ is really not waste, but it helps people to relax their brain and keep their sanity healthy.
I remember there was a study relatively widely cited…

"Surfing the Web is a cheap form of entertainment."
That’s really true for me. Overall speaking, this article was  really not academic, it was really not based on factual information. But many of his statements sound more or less reasonable for me, and was fun to read.

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Looking back the first year half 2013

At the time of this writing, I am sitting on a park bench nearby my wife’s parents home. She has been here since the beginning of April to take everyday’s housework burdens away from her and the baby inside her. I am also here for two weeks from now on to not to miss the moment of a new life start and to take care of him and the mother in the very beginning. It will come within a next few days.

I can imagine how my daily life will change when he comes at home. I could ill afford to spend a calm morning time regularly. He will wake me up any time, whereas sleeping is one of my most priorities of a day. However I am responsible for raising him, and that is the priority. I am looking forward to hold him in the arms and let him sleep. I am really looking to teach him how life is beautiful but sometimes irrational. I am well prepared for answering all of "why" questions he will give to me.

Now I realized that the blog title I’d given 10 minutes ago, and what I actually wrote about appear to be different. In some sense, it is not so accurate because I’ve put quite an effort on chess study which made me 1300-rating player from 1100 player, and I’ve been regularly reading Bloomberg Businessweek still to catch up with the latest trend in world economy and politics. There are still some other things which I’ve been doing. However it just didn’t come out from my mind in the first place cause I cannot help wishing my wife and the baby to smile happily in a very close future.

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Complexity is fun but difficult

Not that long ago, we thought big data was around the corner.

But what happens now is that, much of the time, the output is equally complex. Computers can help us process the data; design can help us express it.

by genome scientist Martin Krzywinksi
Source: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-24/martin-krzywinski-on-how-graphics-can-save-lives

In my job, I also work with a vast volume of data (not as difficult as genome science though). We all know that we don’t need to understand the whole, but from time to time, we need to spot the most important part of the entire system to accomplish particular tasks. Something that cuts across borders of anything and generate encapsulated information that characterized the system is useful. One of the great examples are software versions in software engineering, and another example might be design in natural science, as the author suggested above.
So recently I’m always trying to figure out, from which aspect can a complex system be well illustrated. I might be able to understand a complex system a little more than others if I spend time on that, but not everybody does. How can I deliver complex information in a nutshell most efficiently? This is an endless problem.

From my curiosity, I’ve visited the author’s website and found that how the graphs are formed is difficult, but I feel some sort of beauty from them. I don’t have any idea at all whether this picture is useful for anybody, but people are just struggling with the complexity, I guess.

http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/pi/art/

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Bloomberg Businessweek

It’s kind of a standard way of promotion that local newspaper distributors send a sales woman to each house in their area to look for new customers. I got the visit the last year-end and they offered us a free trial of one week subscription, and I agreed on that.

After the one week, I came up with two main reasons why I should not sign up for the contract.

1. I don’t read newspaper on weekdays
There are more things to do in the morning, such things like studying chess, English proficiency, economics… etc.

2. Not deserve the money
It costs about 3,000 JPY (~ 40USD, 20EUR). Unfortunately, it just did not worth what it actually costs. So I am not saying the newspaper was boring rather fun to read. But considering the benefit I can get from the newspaper, which I eventually can find it in the Internet, I could not find any plausible reasons for paying that amount of money.

Even though I turned down the contract request, during the one week, I signed up another regular-basis magazine subscription: Bloomberg Businessweek.

I’ve come to know about the magazine in San Diego, when I was on a business trip there last November. While I was waiting for the flight in the airport, I wanted to spend some time reading a magazine from local. Bloomberg was one of the good one in terms of pricing and my interest. I like business, financial topics so got a deal. Throughout the airplane travel, I either talked with the next old man from Columbia or read the magazine, or slept. So it was a really nice $5 magazine to get to know the world economy and the trend.

The topics covered in each issue is really wide. From fiscal cliff to how to behave in office parties, and an unusual ironman event in Hawaii for executives. I by no means can read it quickly rather spend considerable amount of time a week to go through each article, however, this is a very good habit during the 1.5 hours train trip every day between home and office.

So if you are interested in it, I would recommend you to have it like me. It just costs 46$/6months, i.e. about $2 a week. Oh, cheaper than in the U.S. kiosk…

Last tips: However, don’t use Nikkei for your Bloomberg distributor, they are ripping Japanese readers off so you would need to pay about double for them to get the same Bloomberg.

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Travel notes – Ishigaki, Okinawa – (2/2) 旅日記

Day 3 & 4 – 石垣島での自然遊び –
Day 3 & 4 – Marine / River sports-

旅の折り返しにあたるこの日、石垣島のとあるリゾートホテルに拠点を移した。その目的は2つのマリンスポーツのツアーに参加するため。

1つめのは白保沖合までボートで出るシュノーケルツアー。かろうじて少し太陽が見えるほどだったが、暖かい気候のなかしっかり楽しめた。ただ、数日前の大雨の影響で水の透明度が低かったのが残念である。

2つ目はカヤックでの川散策だが、これが非常に面白かった。僕たちはカヤックに乗るのは初めてであったので、ツアーガイドの石垣さんにパドルのこぎ方を一から教えてもらう。こぎ始めて10分くらい、少ない力で推進力を得ることができるようになって、どんどん楽しくなってくる。また二人乗りのため、夫婦間のチームワークが大事になのも面白い。そしてツアーの本質ともいえる、石垣さんによるマングローブ帯についての説明は非常にためになるものであった。(ブログ下部に受けた説明の一部を書いておく)

ツアーバスから帰ってくると、ホテルのスタッフが笑顔で玄関までお出迎えに来てくださる心遣い。総じて、素晴らしいサービスを受けることができたので、予定以上にホテル内の出費が増えてしまったが、すてきなくつろぎ空間と時間を提供くださったので満足している。

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We changed a hotel to the east side of Ishigaki. The primary reason is to enjoy snorkeling and river kayaking.

I and my wife have snorkeled in Hawaii and Bali, so this is the 3rd time. Unfortunately the water transparency was not so good because of heavy rain a few days ago. But it was warm enough outside and there was various kinds of coral leafs alive, so it was fun.

River kayaking was more fun for us. We’ve never even rowed a boat, so we needed to learn from the beginning. The kayak we used this time accommodates two people, so Naoko sits in front and I in back. At an early stage, we could get some clue how to efficiently paddle the kayak, and it got more and more fun. Apart from that, the guide Mr. Miyara is a knowledgable person about the nature there. Ishigaki is in the tropics, and there was a tremendous area of mangrove across the river. Now we know what mangrove is: it is not the name of a certain plant, but of a name of region.

Getting decent tired from the sporting, but the hotel staffs at the entrance were waiting for us and gave us the room key. I was amazed by the high quality of this hotel, and how they understand hospitality minds. I spent money there more than I expected, but they deserved it.

Day 3 & 4 -番外編:マングローブ植物と地上植物-
Day 3 & 4 – Side story: Mangrove plants versus land plants-


主にマングローブ植物の一般的な生態について教えてもらったのだが、特に印象に残っているのは、マングローブ植物と地上植物の戦いである。マングローブ植物の生息域は河の水面の高さや、海水にひたる時間の長さによって決められる。それゆえ、マングローブ帯といえども、数十センチでも盛り上がっている砂の丘の上には地上植物が生息し、それより低い位置にマングローブが生息するという状況にある。しかし、その境界線ではお互いが光を目指し上へと葉や茎を必死に伸ばし、その結果が写真のような争いに現れる。写真の例では地上植物がマングローブ植物のまわりにまきつくことで上へと成長し、そしてマングローブ植物は光合成することができなくなるので、この位置でマングローブ植物群は敗退してしまう。

Around the border between two living areas of land plants and mangrove plants, there is a battle. Both plants try to gain the sunlight as higher position as possible, but this time, the land plant won. It twines around the body of the mangrove tree, and the mangrove got weaker by this gradual but strong attack.

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Day 5 & 6 – 石垣島ダイジェスト –
Day 5 & 6 – Ishigaki island bus tour –

「石垣島の魅力はその周りの島々にある」という話をよく聞く。竹富島の他にも、大自然がそのまま残る西表島、素朴な雰囲気の小浜島と黒島、などフェリーで一時間の距離に様々な特色を持つ離島が石垣島の周りにはある。それはそうだと思う。だけど、一つの旅で移動はあまり増やしたくないし、「いや、石垣島自体も面白いはずだ」とも信じてこの旅では一日の竹富島をのぞいて全て石垣島に滞在した。

そんな旅を締めくくる最終日は石垣島の唯一のバス会社・東バス主催による石垣島一周ツアーに参加した。路線バスが一日に二本しかなかったり、そもそも走っていない地域があったり、と公共交通機関での移動では無理が出てくる。ちなみに僕は車を運転しない(ペーパードライバー)。

さて、ツアーが始まってみるとお客さんは僕たちだけ。
「島垣さん夫婦のために本日は案内させていただきます」
と、元気なガイドさんは山田さんという。聞けば、東京出身らしいが、途中までは地元の人と勘違いしていたぐらい色々と詳しい。川平湾、ヤシの木公園、黒砂糖工場などの2時間半のツアーは非常に楽しくて、石垣島の魅力が伝わった。

旅を終えてみての石垣島旅行は、半分国内旅行、半分海外旅行という感じだった。国内というのはもちろん基本的な食生活や言語、人々の容姿が同じだからそう感じて、その一方、海外らしさでは気候の違い、自宅の横浜から時間的にも距離的にも離れていることなんかがあるだろう(韓国のほうが近い)。

そんなことを思いながら、またここにのんびり遊びに来たいな、と思った晴天の最終日であった。

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People often say so about Ishigaki area: "the real virtues of Ishigaki are not in Ishigaki, but in its surrounding smaller islands." To some extent it must be true, but I also wanted to know more about this island rather than more islands. In this trip, I made a plan to stay only one day outside Ishigaki and the rest days inside Ishigaki.

And such a last day of the trip was devoted to a whole island tour by a local tourist bus company there. I have been feeling difficulties in traveling in Ishigaki because there are few public bus lines which run twice a day only. It’s important to note; I don’t drive a car.

"When no more guest arrives within 2 minutes, today’s tour is going to be a private tour for you Ms. and Mr. Shimagaki:-)" And it really was. The tour guide, Ms. Yamada is originally from Tokyo but despite her origin, she knows about Ishigaki in very depth. The tour bus drove from the city center to the north east end, and made a whole half circle of the island. It was good enough for us to get to know this beautiful island.

Well, the trip is now over, and my impression on the trip was ‘half domestic travel, half international travel’. What I mean with domestic travel is, I can speak Japanese, the basic food culture is the same, and people look Japanese. In respect of international part, it is farther than South Korea from my home for instance, and the climate has a striking difference.

On the last day, most hot and sunny day than ever in Ishigaki, I missed the island and wanted to come back again.

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Travel notes – Ishigaki, Okinawa – (1/2) 旅日記

第一日目:プロローグ、心配な空模様
Day 1 – Prologue: anxious about the weather –

「この一週間は梅雨らしい天気が続くことでしょう」
と、出発日の朝の天気予報は伝えた。ツアー代金が安いこのオフシーズンだから天気は期待できなかったが、やはり残念であった。

石垣島までは羽田空港からは那覇空港経由で行った。約4時間、2500kmの長旅。飛行機から外に出ると早速、ムワっとした空気が僕たちを歓迎した。

夜ご飯には新鮮な本マグロを食べたいと思ったのだが、目的の店はあいにくの満員で駄目。だから他の店で妥協したのだが、その店がまあまあ美味しかったのでよしとして、初日の記事とさせていただく。下にいくつかのメニューを紹介しておこう。

We were strongly discouraged from seeing blue skies in this trip. The 7 day weather forecast in Okinawa region did not have any single sun symbol but cloud or rain symbols. To be honest on one hand I had anticipated this situation when I decided on the trip in low season (#), but on another hand I had believed in good luck I usually have.
(#) June in Japan is rainy season across south to Mid-north Japan.

It was a 3 + 1 hours and 2500 km trip to Ishigaki island. We made a transit in Okinawa Naha airport, and from there we got on another smaller aircraft to Ishigaki airport. As I said, it was June and passengers in the airplanes are very few. Getting off the aircraft around 20:00 and the humid and hot air outside welcomed us, which recalled the memory of Bali or Shanghai but the difference is that it is in Japan.

We had decided to eat something Okinawa local at the fist night. Tuna is the most desirable food for my wife but unfortunately the local restaurant we wanted to go was crammed with local people. I was so hungry so we switch the direction to a next restaurant.

Untitledオリオンビールではなく、サンザンドスターという発泡酒は非常にさっぱりした味わい。暑い日には軽いぐらいがちょうどいい。
The beer taste is slightly weaker than normal Japanese beer brands’ ones but good enough for my dry throat.

Untitledエビがすごい安くてびっくりしたし、おいしかった。これで450円。
Lots of fried shrimps (~ 30 pieces) cost just 450 yen (~6$), which would cost triple in city. Shrimp is one of major fishing industries in Ishigaki.

Untitledゴーヤチャンプルも苦みがちょうどよくてよかった。
Go-ya, a type of bitter squashes in Okinawa, tastes decent bitter. I liked it very much.

Day 2 – 竹富島での静かな空の劇場 –
Day 2 – Arts of cloudy skies in a small island-

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竹富島の人口はたったの326人、島の周囲はたったの9.2kmしかない。琉球の建造物が国の重要文化財として保護されていて、この八重山諸島のでも人気の島である。

朝にフェリーで到着して、ひたすら歩いて観光した。
コンドイビーチの水は曇り空に負けずに水色に透き通っていて、カイジビーチでは人々は雨にも負けずに星の形をした砂粒を探している。

僕がこの島で、そしてこの旅で最も感動したのは西桟橋。沖に向かって突き出た細い船着き場。

・・・

とても静かで、おだやかな波の音と森の動物の声しか聞こえない。

そして夕日が名物と聞いていたが、名物は曇り空の間違えではないかと思ったほど、美しい空の色の移り変わりを見ることが出来た。その芸術は薄く淡い水色の昼間の空に始まり、徐々に太陽の光が水面に落ちて来た。突如オレンジやピンクの色の雲も仲間に加わり観客を驚かせ、最後は銀河のような神秘的な青色になり幕を閉じた。

夜は宿で静かに過ごし、翌朝には眠い目をこすってまた西桟橋に行き、また朝の静寂を楽しんだのである。

Taketomi island, a tiny island with diameter 2 km length, is our travel destination from the central island Ishigaki. Taketomi is popular with domestic and international tourists for its traditional architectural village. However, what most moved me was not the village itself, but the virtue of real nature.

First of all, we went down to Kondoi beach, where light blue ocean sparkled even in a cloudy day. The next residing beach Kaiji has unique formed sand (actually not sand but kind of seashell) looks like stars.

We came over to what I think the most beautiful place on the island – the west wharf. There was silent except the whisper of birds, and the sound of winds and waves. It is said that the sunset there is the most beautiful scene of the place, but I don’t believe so: the sunset clouds. It was like a cinema show. The light blue clouds started to gain the power of sunlight, and it got orange. The orange color was strengthened more and more but the surrounding clouds in contrast wanted dark blue. In the ending, the only opening window to the sun got smaller but brighter and it was perfectly reflected on the sea surface.

The whole sequence of the scenes remained in my mind for long. Needless to say, I woke up at 6 o’clock the next morning to see another face from the west wharf. It was also beautiful.

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Cleaning rooms pollutes the earth?

I and my wife did the big cleaning in our rooms last weekend. The first thing you do in cleaning is to throw things away. So after pulling all clothes out from closets, there was a tremendous amount of clothes and shoes which were not in use for the recent two years. We decided to say “Good bye old clothes.”

Now I wondered if you can do the same in the next generation. Because I know that processing garbage by putting them in landfill cost reasonably high. How many people on the earth care about the space occupied by such garbage? I suppose, most of the masses and even politicians are indifferent to the problem, even though more and more land is occupied by the landfills. I guess such a new era will comes to real all of a sudden; “Buying a T-shirt costs $10, returning a T-shirt costs $20”.

The aim of producing new goods constantly is to have better world to human beings. Throughout the whole history, we’ve made a lot of technological innovation and we’ve become more and more productive. If you look back the people 100 years ago, cars are such luxurious products for the richest people but now more than half of Japanese households possess their own car.

We became richer, but we have smaller space. During the human development, we haven’t cared about the old products which are under-promoted to garbage/waste. This is kind of a tradeoff, or this downside can be considered as cost needed for innovation: is it principally true? I don’t think necessary, because there are some ways of reusing, recycling old products (2 out of the “4R” principle) but simply we have not been cooperative to that aspect.

While I am writing this blog, I started to be obsessed with finding out a new business model to accelerate the 4R. Very challenging task for all human beings. … after I googled, it turned out there are several services for this aim. They are not yet popular with many people though, I hope they catch on.

Discover your own strengths rather than weaknesses

Everybody likes different colors, different food, and has different strengths and weaknesses. But what usually happens is that, we do not admit this fact and try best effort to prepare people to be able to work in a given framework.

I don’t think that’s effective and fun. Why not do something that you like and do what you can do better?

***

The book I am reading now reinforced my thought.


"Now, discover your strengths", by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton
"さあ、才能に目覚めよう(日本語訳版)"

I first found the book in a book review where 100 best US business books are introduced. I was inspired by the book content and borrowed the book from the library. Having read until the middle part, I promptly decided to buy that. It’s pretty rare for me to "buy" a book as a frequent library borrower, but I must buy it this time; I needed a unique security code to access to a Web-based test called "Strengths Finder". The test is designed to tell you 5 strengths out of 33 strengths and consists of 180 questions in multiple choice. After the 30 minutes test, it will assess your 5 strengths. Let me illustrate some examples of strengths:
– strategic
– responsibility
– deliberative
– command
– … etc. (33 in total)

I found it was quite a novelty that this book tries to define people’s "strengths" rather than weaknesses. There are bunch of words to formulate weaknesses but not so many for strengths. That fact demonstrates how we have been more interested in weaknesses. However, as you see in the book, it is not necessary at all to remove your weaknesses to solve certain difficulties but you can make use of strengths to compensate weaknesses. Above all any, it normally takes a lot more time to eliminate your weaknesses rather than to improve your strengths. We only have a limited time for our life, so I would rather like to spend more time to make me more productive with my strengths.

One of the reasons why I find this test valuable and reliable is this test has a long development history for 30 years by a world renowned human resource company with processors in metrical psychology. Secondly, this company carried out the test with the most successful business people from different industries, and the results and analysis seem to me plausible enough that their "strengths" have been the key to success.

By the way, it appears that I have the following 5 strengths:
Discipline (Everything must be well-ordered)
Maximizer (I want to be in a top group)
Woo (=Sociable)
Harmony (I don’t want confliction)
Significance (I want to stand out from crowds of people)

I totally agree with the result, and I think I am lucky that I am in a circumstance where I can make use of them fully. Now it’s time to improve them more and more.

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